Plastic Bottles Make Great Mini-greenhouses!


Easy-peasy mini greenhouses! Source:

In spring, when trays of seedlings and cuttings start to fill our homes, transparent mini-greenhouses are ideal for covering the soon-to-be plants. They help create the famous “greenhouse effect” young plants so love, keeping both seedlings and cuttings in warmth and high humidity … just what they need for a good start in life. You can, of course, buy plastic domes specifically designed for this purpose: every garden center sells them, as do seed catalogs, but you may already have everything you need at home … in the form of plastic bottles: water bottles, juice bottles, soft drink bottles, etc.

If you cut a plastic bottle in half widthwise, you will get not one, but two mini-greenhouses: the base, inverted, and the top. (Yes, do leave the cap on: you’re striving for high humidity, after all!)

Small bottles, like individual portion water bottles, are fine for small pots. 2-liter bottles will cover larger ones. And you can find even larger bottles if you look a bit.

Note that these mini-greenhouses are only used for a short time, just to get seeds and cuttings stared. Once seedlings germinate and cuttings are rooted, you don’t need them anymore, as young plants have to adapt to real-life conditions, including less humid air. So the fact that these home-made coverings are not that tall is not a problem: you’ll have removed them long before the young plants reach their top.

Making the Cut

20180319B papersculputure,

You can cut the bottle with a knife or scissors. Source: papersculputure,

To cut a plastic bottle in two, use a sharp knife or utility knife (X-Acto) to pierce the initial hole. You can continue cutting all around the bottle with the same knife if you want, many people prefer finishing with scissors. They’re a little less hazardous for your fingers! Just experiment to find out what works best for you.

After use, clean your mini-greenhouses by wiping off any soil that sticks to them and stack them for use the following year.

Best of luck with all your seedlings and cuttings!20180319A

A Recycled Mini-Greenhouse


20160213AWhy pay for commercial mini-greenhouses for your seedlings? Supermarkets are full of products sold in containers with transparent plastic tops, any of which can be recycled into a mini-greenhouse. Just think of the containers for muffins and other pastries, salads or roast chicken. They make such great seedling containers it’s almost as if they were designed precisely for that purpose!

The bottom of the container makes an excellent tray for pots of seedlings while the transparent top serves as mini greenhouse to maintain high humidity while the seeds are germinating.

21060213BAlternatively, if you pierce drainage holes in the bottom of the container, you can sow your seeds directly into it. Just fill it with moist growing mix and sow the seeds. In that case, you’ll have to place the container on top of a larger tray to catch any excess water that might drain out. And you ought to be able to recycle a tray for that too.

‘Tis the season to start collecting your seedling containers, because the main season for sowing seeds indoors is just around the corner, in March.