Growing coke bottles

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

These are my winter seedling containers. I had great success last year with them so that's what I'm using this year. I cut the bottle in half, punch holes in the bottom, and put a few slits in the top half for ventilation. After I plant my seeds and water them, I put the top back on and pack the bottles into cardboard boxes. Then out they go into the back yard to face the cold. As things begin to sprout I'll remove the bottle caps so they don't over heat. Works like a charm. I had more seedlings last year than I could fit into my garden.

Thumbnail by poppysue

what a neat idea. i think I will try it :~)

what a neat idea. i think I will try it :~)

Belfield, ND(Zone 4a)

I've been using those little covered containers you get cherry tomatoes in at the grocery store too. I wish I wouldn't have been throwing out all the coke bottles now. LOL!

When all the kids were home we went through that size bottle a lot but don't even buy them anymore unless kids are coming home or lots of company. But..we do drink lots of juice from plastic bottles just like this only a bit smaller and I've been doing the same thing. I think it's great too.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

What a wonderful idea. That would keep my seeds from washing out. I tried the winter sowing and the rain washed some of the seeds out and like TiG, I too have squirrels that dig in stuff.

Newnan, GA(Zone 8a)

these are also great for pots, I have brugs that needed a pot to get them to spring outside. these work great without the top for that.

Middle, TN(Zone 6b)

Poppysue, Did you start them out in a sterile potting medium or with regular potting soil? I want to try this as I have been saving my cold drink bottles to use the bottom cut off part for potting up new plants. I have bunches of them.

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

tiG - I think I'll do that. I have some brugs in paper cups & it's not working out too good. We have tons of coke bottles - DH is an addict! They're recyclable here so I always save them to take to the redemption center. Think I'll cut a bunch up today.

Newnan, GA(Zone 8a)

Elena, for the ones I winter sowed, I used cheap potting soil, and it's NOT sterile:) worked fine.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

i have always used those soda bottles, if memory serves me right... i first posted that in the thread of propagating Confederate jasmine thread.

i cut the upper 1/4 off the top using a blade cutter, then trimming off with a pair of scissors to smoothen the edges. using a portable drill, puncture holes on the bottom. wash the bottle with bleach and diswashing soap to sterilized the bottle. fill the bottom part with styro foam 'peanuts' - to prevent water log.

i make my own starter soil by premixing equal amount of perlite and peat moss with a teaspoon of superphosphate - enchances root and plant growth. premoist the potting medium prior to planting the seed or cutting. it has always worked wonders for me all the time.

seeds i often soaked in luke warm water for 3 consecutive days, changing water each day. w/in 3- 5 days, most seeds emerge as seedlings. don't forget to place the top on. after the seedlings emerge, take off the top cover.*smaller seeds i plant straight on the potting medium. depending on the seed's requirement for light: some i cover with starter soil, others i simply place on the top of the soil.

the cuttings, i plant with out the top to cover. w/in a few weeks new leaves emerge.

i do not have a green house, never had those special lights to grow. i am solely dependent using the plastic bottles as propagating medium. i simply place the bottles on the southwest window ledge for light... ma vie

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

You guys are all so clever! One suggestion: If you want to add holes to the bottom of a plastic container without splitting it, try a hot nail! I hold a 16 penny nail over the burner of my kitchen range (holding it with a pair of plyers!), then turn over the container and burn the holes in. It's fast and easy, and it doesn't split brittle plastic products.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

WZ... u are right. u can also heat the end of an ice pick to puncture holes. i prefer the portable drill, cause it is easier for me that way. i collect the plastic bottles, cut, steriled in bunches. not one at a time. easier to stock them up and ready for use in the event it is needed. there is a lady around the neighborhood who collects the plastic bottle for me, and bring them in exchange of duplicate & easy plants for her to grow. she knew i do not drink soda pop, and knew i use these plastic containers all the time as regular pots for duplicate stock.

so far, i have never crack a plastic bottle yet! ma vie

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Thanks, MaVieRose. Maybe I'll borrow my DH's drill next time!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

u're very welcome Weezingreens :)! i used the drill cause of the carphal tunnel syndrome i suffer with. makes the job easier to accomplish.... ma vie

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Ah, yes, the electric drill was a real step forward for womankind! It makes everything easier, and men just a little less necessary!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

Weezingreens... we sure don't want to offend the men. i do not know how much younger u are than i am. being an old lady as i, i still need a helping hand around lifting those heavy containers or pots. or even transporting those bulky garden supplies i have to keep stock at hand.... ma vie

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8b)

i too use the coke bottles and everything else i can get my hands on. lol. and keeping a man around is a must. can't get along without those: muscles? :)

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

:)!!! u go girl LOL!

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

I sure didn't want to insinuate that men are unnecessary. I depend on my DH for lots of things, and he always helps me with my garden projects. I guess I worded it wrong.. what I mean is that it's nice to do things for myself without having to ask him to put a screw in the wall to hang a picture when he's busy with something else.

I'm 55, MaVie Rose and that seems pretty old sometimes when I'm on my hands and knees digging in the garden, then try to get back up! I don't know if you've lived more years than me, but I can tell by your postings that you are young at heart and your mind is as sharp as a tack. You've always got a helpful link to a website or good advice to share!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

Weezingreens... am 58, a few years ahead of u ;). as Aimée, use to say... we are not old, but wiser LOL! i do prefer to post web sites for fear of missing some vital information. if not mistaken, sharing web sites is far better, the reader can always bookmarked for future references. i try to post the best site/s i can find, if possible. i like to help the best way i can. being born under the astrological sign of virgo, i guess i am focus on details - vital details that need to be known.

having been born and raised in the Philippines, i've been blessed to touched and wear lovely & fragrant tropical flowers or plants. i've been gardening most of my life. here in the US, it has been nearly 40 yrs.- totally different garden technique from the orient. it is sad to admit, before then, i have never find interest in botanical names until recently. way back then, i was content to know the common name of plants that are resident to Philippines climate cause i never knew i was going to be transplanted to the US. when i came here, i had hardship finding plants i had been familiar with... then the botanical names became mandatory for me to learn. i am glad cause the transistion, allowed me to acquire plants i've been familiar with.

it is always good to share information, from my point of view, it makes one's task less burdensome for other. in the process of sharing information, i also learn a lot too.

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Oh, MaVieRose, how right you are. I know I have visited the sites you've linked, and many of them are earmarked in my favorites now. I'm amazed that you always know where to look for information. That is truly what knowledge is all about.. knowing where to look for the answers, since none of us can keep all the information we need in our heads!

I envy your history with tropical plants. I can see now why you do so well with the plants you show us in photos. I, too, experienced a drastic change in growing techniques when I moved to Alaska almost 30 years ago. I came from the midwest where the summers were hot and the winters quite cold. We could grow so many things down there that I cannot grow up here...at least, not without a great deal of effort!

As you know, I'm sure, there is a trade-off when you move to a different climate. In my case, I could no longer grow tomatoes, cucumbers, or sweet corn in my garden, but other vegetables that I used to have to grow in the cooler part of the summer only, are were fine all summer here. Now I can grow wonderful lettuce, Swiss chard, celery, peas, all summer long. Violas don't bake in the sun, my bleeding heart never dies back.

Another benefit up here is the lack of harmful bugs, fungi, etc, that plague the warmer climes. We get a few cut worms, root maggots, thrips, and of course lots of slugs, but they aren't those big banana slugs the West Coast deals with! I think we also get more vibrant colors in some of our blooms, perhaps due to the cool soil, the long days, or the kinder sun. In the two or three months we have to work with, it is Eden here.

I, too, am learning about the botanical names. It really becomes necessary as I branch out in my seed starting. This spring I started at least 6 kinds of primula, and different varieties of some of those. Without the botanical names, it could be very confusing later on. I've learned a lot here in Dave's Garden, and helping with the database is really good for me to learn more.

There are a couple other aspects of gardening I really want to learn about, should you see sites as you surf the net. One is pollination. I collect lots of seeds, but I'm never quite sure what can cross and what cannot. I guess I really need a sex education class in plants!...(not the carrots!)

The other is the life expectancy of perennials and the life cycle of biennials. This has always been a mystery to me. As I get older, I had to face the fact that I won't be here forever, so I've also begun to ask how old I can expect a plant to get? When should I start grooming a successor. I've never heard anyone say, "My columbine passed away this winter of natural causes...just slipped away in her sleep." They always say it winter killed. Don't some of these old gals just keel over from old age?

Thanks to friends in the garden, I know how to hyperlink now, so I'm going to follow your example and add a few in future postings. Thanks for sharing a bit of your history with me.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

u've mention a too broad subject: pollination, need to narrow it down. here, see for urself what i mean http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&q=flower+pollination ... too much to look into, but i hope u can find what u really want. see, the time element i have to spend to specifically find the 'right place'? if u don't find what u need. let me know and i will look it up for u. right now need to do some 'work' around the house, least i get in trouble. ma vie

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

You know, you are right, MaVieRose. It is much too broad a query. At this point, I think I'm mostly concerned with cross-pollination...what crosses with what. How I can avoid it, how I can encourage it. Any suggestions on where to look for the life-expectancy of plants?

These questions are certainly not an immediate need. I just meant to keep them in mind, and if something related pops up, and you recall I asked, you could let me know. I,too, need to get to work around my house. It is morning here, and I have already been out to my shed to mist all my seedlings, but still have a basement full to do! I'm sitting here in my nightgown typing away when I should be fixing my breakfast and cleaning house! It's hard to leave the Garden!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

there u go again with ur broad subject. here is what i can come up with as far as vegetable & herb are concerned... http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/plantsci/hortcrop/h912w.htm

sorry Poppie sue didn't mean to get off track here... just trying to help the best i can.

WZ... maybe we should start another thread. email me the new thread u begin, okay????

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Sure thing, MaVieRose.

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

I don't mind. You gals can highjack my thread anytime ;-)

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

She's right, poppysue..forgot where I was. Thanks for the hospitality and be assured I may highjack, but I don't plan to blow myself up while I'm here!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

there was no intensions at all to hijack ur thread poppiesue. senior moments often get me into trouble, but once reality evolves, i am back to track again. LOL! the yearning to give a helping hand beget the best of me.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Sue, how tall are the boxes you put them in? I guess the cardboard provides some insulation for the soil (root zone?) Great idea - next winter I'll try it. So far I've just been using regular cell packs in flats with lids - four flats at a time on our picnic table, then rotate them back into the GH after 4-6 weeks (I know that's not "REAL" winter sowing, but it's a start, LOL.)

Middle, TN(Zone 6b)

MaVie! Question for you. When you mix your potting med. for starting seeds and cuttings you said to use a tsp. of super phosphate. I was wondering how much of the peat and perlite you used when you added the teaspoon. In other words, what balance of the three.

Helsinki, Finland(Zone 4b)

Do coke bottles look like that there? Here they are made of hard plastic (we have a recycle system with bottles, very neat), how much is there in one bottle? I wish we'd have 2 litre bottles, right now the 1,5 l is biggest one. And one of cheapest costs about 1,60 € (about 1,45 USD).

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

Elena,

when using 12 oz. coffee can as a measuring cup; use equal amounts of peat & perlite; 1 tsp of superposphate*.add enough water to moisten the mixture [just moist, not saggy or watery] mix thoroughly till well blended. remember to use premoisted soil when planting.

superposphate, where i am situated is only available in nurseries, Home Depot or Walmart does not sell them.

Evert ours are 2 liters 67.6 FL OZ(2 qt.3.6FL OZ).

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

Terry those are 2 litre bottles. I put them in boxes just to keep the wind from blowing them around. The tops of the bottles are still exposed. Last year I buried them in the snow but this year we didn't have any. We've had plenty of cold weather though.

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

What a great idea, Poppysue. Snow is a great insulator, as well as the box to keep the chill of the snow off the containers. You're always thinkin'!

Middle, TN(Zone 6b)

Ma Vie....Thanks you so very much for the information. I am putting that in my notebook and will be using it right away. I am getting ready to start all kinds of seeds so the timing was perfect.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

u're very welcome Elena :D! it's alway good to share.

Hamilton, Canada

The sterilized pop bottle method is great for any type of cutting, especially roses.

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

I just took some cuttings today - weigela, honysuckle, and thyme. I cut a tall bottom & a tall top from 2 different bottles to make them big enough. I hope they root! I put them outside on my porch so I can keep an eye on them.

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