This activity can be done with groups of any size. It is a perfect opportunity to give plastic bottles a new life, being used as planters for lettuce, flowers, herbs and co.
Materials needed for creating a vertical garden from recycled bottles
- Plastic bottles – try to use bottles of the same shape
- Cardboard – reuse some cardboard boxes
- Seedlings – small plants with shallow root system are the best option (for example spinach, lettuce and flowers work well)
- Needle/screw/nail or any sharp object to poke small holes
- Potting soil, some compost can be used too
Take some bottles of about the same size and remove the labels on either side of your bottles. Poke small holes in the bottom of your container using a needle or a screw, these holes will help in draining the water in excess. The top of the needle can be heated to make it easier to poke through the plastic. Heating the edge of your needle will make it easier to poke through the plastic.
Cut a rectangle in the middle of your bottle opposite the side with holes, this will be the space to plant the seedlings.
Line the inner sides of your bottle with cardboard strips, leaving the holes at the bottom clear, the cardboard acts as insulation for your soil, just like they would get underground.
Mix the potting soil with sand: two parts soil to one part sand. The sand helps to thin the soil and allow the water to drain easier, a little bit of compost can be added too, if desired. Make sure that the cap on the bottle is closed firmly and fill the bottle with soil.
Plant your seedlings into the soil, make sure you do not overcrowd the space, the more plant you fit the less they will grow because the space is limited.
The ideal number is one seedling per bottle because you want the roots of your plant to have room to grow. Water your seedlings and while doing this check that the draining system works and water falls through the soil and out the holes.
Measure the length of your desired vertical garden and adapt the length of the string according to the desired measure.
Take the first string and tie it in a loop to the bottle, wrap it around, then repeat on the other side of the bottle.
Hang the bottle up on a high surface with the loops hanging off stable hooks, keeping it stable and straight.
Repeat for the other bottles, attaching the appropriate length of string and looping it around the sides of bottles. Finally, attach the strings to the bottles above until you have your vertical hanging garden.