I love upcycled things. And I mean love them. I have an unnatural attraction to all things repurposed. And I especially love it when I can make things myself from objects that would otherwise end up in landfills, thrift shops, and hidden in boxes in the back of the closet. So when I first spotted grow bottles in a catalog that Uncommon Goods sent to me during the annual holiday catalog onslaught of 2011, I knew I had to figure out how to make these.
I'm a gardener, and I live in Virginia. My gardening days are numbered throughout the year, so these bottles appealed to me as indoor herb containers that I could easily maintain throughout the winter. And if you know me, you also know how much of a bottom-watering container freak I really am.
First, remove all foil and paper wine bottle labels.
I filled my sink with hot, soapy water and placed my bottles in for about an hour to soften the adhesive on the labels. Some peeled right off, but others required a plastic scraper, some Goo Gone, and a little elbow grease.
I really liked this picture, so I'm throwing it on here.
Using the deluxe bottle cutter I ordered from Ephrem's Bottle Works, I cut each bottle. You can get other bottle cutters at your local craft supply store for less, but I believe you get what you pay for. Read reviews first. You'll see what I mean.
Also, Ephrem is awesome.
He is always available to answer questions, and his customer service is beyond superb.
<Update: I've included a brief video of how to use the bottle cutter at the bottom of this post.>
Each Ephrem's bottle cutting kit includes silicon polishing paper
and powder to smooth the cut edges.
Add water to the bottom part of the grow bottle. The top part of the bottle gets turned upside down, filled with potting soil, and should sit in the water inside the bottom part of the bottle. I used some of my daughter's old tights and placed them over the bottle spout so that the potting soil wouldn't fall out into the water, but would allow the water to wick up into the soil easily. I used twine to tie the tights onto the bottle neck.
If you start your plants from seeds, you will want to make sure the growing medium is well-moistened, and your grow bottle is placed in a well-lit area. I like to grow my seedlings in soil pods under grow lights to ensure they have strong root systems before transferring them to the grow bottles.