*"Frugal" Gardening: Egg Shells and Diet Coke Bottles*
30 May 2020
Most of us are very focused on our gardens this year, with uncertainties about the economy and potential food shortages to come. I tend to be a cheapskate even without economic pressure and never like spending money on something I could "make for myself!" So I didn't want to spend a lot of money on seed starters (not that they're expensive, just the principle of it, ya know? ;) )
I saw a video where they used egg shells filled with potting soil to start seeds, so I tried it and it worked great. I have also seen 2L bottles used as planters for tomatoes and other plants in an "upright garden," so of course I had to try that too. The 2L bottles work great for keeping moisture in the soil! So far I have bush beans, dwarf peas, tomatoes and cucumbers that I started in Eggshells and are now growing in the Diet Coke Bottles.
1. Fill eggshells with potting soil. Add seed, cover with potting soil. Water gently, or seed will wash out.
2. Put the eggshell back in the egg carton to hold it in place (bonus if it's a clear plastic carton that works as a "mini-greenhouse").
3. Let the seedlings grow to 1-2" high. Then crack the bottom of the eggshell by tapping or squeezing it. You should be able to see roots coiled on the bottom of the eggshell.
4. Plant the whole thing, with cracked open bottom so roots can grow, in the ground or in a 2L bottle planter. I put the spout of the bottle facing down, with the cover off, for drainage. The bottles are tied up to the railing with yarn, but I did put some in a trench in the ground in the garden.
I did put construction paper (newspaper would work too) around the insides of some of the bottles, before adding dirt, to protect the roots from sun, But they don't actually seem to care about roots in the sun, so I'll update this if I start noticing roots dying and plants suffering.
Also, the 2L bottles can be flipped upside down over young plants for a greenhouse effect. I used them to protect young squash and cucumber in the recent cold snap, and use them on my rose cuttings. Diet Coke bottles are the perfect shape for this, because of the flare at the bottom of the bottle. I can cut the bottom planter at the wide part of the flare, then cut the top piece at the narrow part, and the top fits down on the bottom perfectly.
These are some of my rose cuttings with their personal green houses. :)DNA-Doc
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