Busy Bee on the Balcony

Here is a HD video of the bee nesting in my IVAR bonsai nursery shelf on the balcony:

It is now working on the third hole and I have put four more of these metal thingies in where I want to add another shelf later. It seems I have to book in early. 😀

Recycling Coffee Dregs

As I wrote yesterday, I used coffee dregs in a mixture with soil for my pine seeds. I’ve read a bit about recycling coffee dregs and coffee grounds and there are an amazing number of things you can do with that “aromatic waste”.

Using Coffee Grounds and Coffee Dregs As A Fertilizer

First of all, you can use it as a fertilizer. Apparently, it will mainly effect the leaves and help them grow. Unfortunately, I cannot find the source any longer.

You can also use coffee as an organic pest control. Even in Parks and Recreations, they featured coffee as a slug-repellent! I read that it also works for (or rather against) moles … and cats. But who would want to repel cats?! I had some tiny insects in some of my pots which had come with the soil. I added some ground coffee on top of the soil. They’re not dead yet, but I’m hopeful. And it smelled sooo nice when I watered the plants!

Recycling Coffee Dregs Into Pots

During my research, I came across that company that recycles coffee dregs into plant pots. Just google it, I don’t want to help them with their SEO to much. That sounds like a beautiful idea for bonsai pots! You only need some casts, but I have plenty of LEGO to work with.

coffee + resin and tea + resin
(c) davidneat

I guess, one would make a silicone mold first and pour a mixture of coffee and resin into it, like this guy (picture by him) did.

Then I came across a related matter: Animal coffins made of recycled coffee and other organic material. I guess one could use that material for bio-degradable pots. I found some “recipes” for organic glue, which in combination with coffee grounds and other stuff could be used. I’ve used up all my coffee dregs already, so I cannot try today. But there is plenty of supply at the office!

Using Coffee for Dyeing

Then, you can use coffee for dyeing fibers and other things like eggs for Easter. Somewhere I read that someone used it as a henna substitute for making tattoos. I won’t go into more detail, because this is not my area of expertise – not that the above areas were….

You can also use it as a peeling for cleaning your skin. And for odor control…

Recycling: Nursery Pots from Egg Carton

Recycling Idea for Egg Cartons

When I singled my lemon seedlings into the bio-degradable pots yesterday, I struck me that the material was not unlikely to the material of egg cartons. So when my co-workers cooked Eggs in Mustard Sauce today, I asked them to keep the egg cartons for me. Back at home, I used one of them and turned it into a nursery pot battery.

Egg Carton Turned Nursery Pots

Egg Carton Turned into Nursery Pots

You don’t need to cut the spikes, I just felt they were superfluous. I will write later what I used them for.

Plant Nursery: IKEA Hack

I had decided to go for the IKEA hack after all, because I figured that it would leave me with less work – although I love DIY – and would cost me less. I’ve added my idea to the ikeahackers website, but it might take a while to get accepted, so I’m gonna describe it here as well.

IKEA hack: Plant Nursery made of IVAR

I used some parts from IKEA and some from a hardware store. Some of the hardware store things could be replaced by IKEA products.

IKEA hardware store
  • 2 x IVAR Side unit 124×30
  • 3-4x IVAR Shelf 42×30
  • 1x OBSERVATÖR Cross-brace
  • wood preservative
  • 2x lamp holder
  • plywood 15.5cmx56cm
  • extension cable
  • (4x castor roller)
  • 2x light bulbs for plants (actually
    ordered on amazon, but I think
    they’re available in a hardware store

The castor rollers are optional. However, I’ll place the nursery in front of my balcony door (indoors) and in case I wanna use the balcony in winter (for refilling the bird house, for example), I can easily push it aside.

If you wanna build it as well, you’ll also need:

  • hole saw (for the lamp holder)
  • saw
  • fret saw
  • sand paper
  • screwdriver (plus a small one for the lustre terminal)
  • drill
  • wood glue
  • screws
  • Stanley knife
  • paintbrush
  • wood for the lamp holder thingy

As you can see on the pictures, I left some parts unstained. These are the parts that hold the lights in winter. When I put the plant nursery on my balcony during summer time, I won’t need the electric lights and will take off the unstained parts.

Hidden Lustre Terminal

Hidden Lustre Terminal

I cut the socket part off the extension cable and connected the two lamp holder cables with it with a lustre terminal. That didn’t look so nice and also seemed a bit dangerous, in case my little nephew comes to visit, so I hid that in an old film can, just cut a hole in the bottom and one in the lid.

The plywood was used for the Japanese style gable. I had planned on having one on either side, but that sawing was way too exhausting. So, one will have to do.

I’ve only put that one mini greenhouse in for the photo, the other one is on its way to me, as are the light bulbs. There is a very nice IKEA hack for mini greenhouses, though. If I need more greenhouses in the future, I might try that. Although mine have little openings in the lid for ventilation…

Bonsai Nursery For My Balcony (only a plan so far)

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Bonsai Nursery Idea

Bonsai Nursery Idea (made in Google SketchUp)

This is what I would like to build for my balcony to house the seedlings. I could actually build it now and place it indoors in front of the balcony door…
However, neither having a car nor even a driving license, getting the material home is quite difficult, especially the larger parts and the paint.

I enjoy making such plans so much! Lets hope I can realize it…

Or maybe I’ll make an IKEA hack. Use IVAR shelves…

IKEA hack plant nursery

IKEA hack plant nursery

DIY: Makeshift Greenhouse

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Simple: Just a jar turned upside down

Simple: Just a jar turned upside down

An idea to house a single small plant. Just use a cleaned jar turned upside down. If you don’t want to buy a small greenhouse, you can upcycle some jars. Provided you have really small pots or large jars. You could glue or screw the lid to a larger piece of wood and have an array of jar-greenhouses. Might also be a nice DIY idea for children.

Window Sill Expansion

DIY Window Sill Expansion

DIY Window Sill Expansion

I have been busy today to build this wooden expansion for my window sill. I used only wood I had left over from previous projects and it is only stable as long as it is fitted neatly into that window.

You can also see my LEGO® construction for the Raspberry Pi which I use to take pictures of the first lemon tree every hour. I’ve planned on taking 600 pictures, which is 25 days. The plant itself is hidden behind a wall of white LEGO® bricks, so the sun can reflect back on it. Not that there is much sun these days…That’s why I added the lamp, which is connected to a timer to extend the day for a few hours. Just an ordinary lamp from IKEA (LAGRA), not a special plant light.

Mini-Terrarium for Plants

Some weeks ago, I came across this blog post about how to make a mini terrarium. It seemed like a cute idea. So, when I realized that I was one Christmas present short, I decided to try it.
This is the result:

What you need:
  • jar with lid
  • gravel (aquarium supply)
  • activated coal (aquarium supply or maybe you can crush some charcoal)
  • soil
  • plant (mini cactus or moss will do)
  • water
I used a much smaller jar than in the example given in the other blog. It was also a bit more complicated to fill it, because the jar is narrower at the top, but I liked the general form of the jar.
I followed the instruction mainly, maybe used a bit too much gravel. However, instead of moss, I got a little plant to put inside. I don’t know what it is called, though, some kind of succulent, I think.
I have lots of material left over, mainly gravel, which I only got in a 5 kg sack and needed less than a hand full. Maybe more people will get this Christmas present form me this year. On the other hand, I think gravel can also be used for bonsai.

Selfmade Pots and More Seeds Germinating

Some days ago, I ate that pomegranate and kept some seeds – 29, to be precise. I wanted to sow them, but I had no pots left. However, I had eaten some Greek style yoghurt which came in nice flat plastic bowls. So, instead of dumping them, I made pots of them. They’re flatter than the pots I bought, which I think is of an advantage, because their roots won’t become as deep as the ones before. And bonsai trees don’t need deep roots anyway.


You need: yoghurt bowls, hand screw driver,
old piece of wood, Stanley knife

Drill some holes into the bottom of the
yoghurt bowl for drainage.
Use the piece of wood to prevent
your table to get spoiled.

As soon as the drill has penetrated
the bottom, you can take  the bowl into
your hand and finish making the hole.

Make as many holes as you like.
More are probably better than less.

If you like, you can leave those thingies
as they are, otherwise…

…use the Stanley knife to carefully
cut them off.

I let the 29 pomegranate seeds in warm water overnight and put 14 in soil into one of the thus made pots and 15 into the other. I couldn’t get all the fruit stuff of them, so I hope that they won’t mildew.

Some of the seeds from the first batch have started germinating. One pomegranate and two myrtle. I thought they were done germinating and had already collected about 10 of the “dead” pomegranate seeds and dumped them. Some of them might have germinated still. Well, too late.