Watering Can From Recycled Plastic Bottle

Bottle caps

Some days ago, I saw these bottle caps that turn an ordinary water bottle into a watering can – on amazon. What a great idea, I thought and almost ordered them, but then the shipping cost was higher than the actual cost of those thingies (2,95 €) and I thought better of it. If I would see them in a shop, I would buy them at once.

But then I thought that I could just drill some holes in the ordinary cap of the water bottle I already use for watering my plants. I tried that and it works just fine. The water might not go 100 % precisely where it is supposed to go, but I haven’t made a complete mess.

So here is how I did it:

If you consider yourself a bit clumsy and are afraid you will knock the bottle over and you happen to have a second cap, you can drill a hole in the side of the watering cap, attach a string, attach the string to the neck of the bottle and use the other cap to close it properly.

Attach a string to both caps, actually, so you won’t lose either.

Canned Herbs – Illustrated Instruction

Some weeks ago, my sister brought me these herbs in cans by Inspirion GmbH, but I’m sure there are other companies that sell those. What a kind and interesting idea.

Canned herbs: Mint, Oregano and Basil

Canned herbs: Mint, Oregano and Basil

Today, with it being the last but one day before a colder period, I decided to do some can gardening. I tried to follow the instructions in English first, because they were the first given. Soon, I discovered that the English (as well as the Italian) instruction are a bit faulty. So, I switched to German, which was almost perfect. And I decided to make an illustrated instruction, because I know that my sister got some cans for herself.

Germinating Seeds in Vermiculite

moulding soil and almond

Yikes! Moulding almond

Some of the seeds in my pots (especially almond) have developed mould, so I had to dump them. They won’t germinated and it’s a health hazard for me, because they live (or try to live) in my bedroom. I thought to try something else to get them to germinate and than I got a date from my co-worker. 😀

Germinating Date Seeds

I got a date seed from my co-worker, who had been to the Green Week in Berlin (a trade fair for agriculture, horticulture and food industries). He had brought a box of three dates from Saudi-Arabia and offered me one. I ate it and kept the seed. He dumped his and I didn’t want to get them off his waste paper basket. So, I only took that one date seed home and soaked it in lukewarm water for four days. They don’t actually need four days, two or three are apparently enough, but I had to wait for the vermiculite.


Vermiculite close-up

Prevent Moulding With Vermiculite

I had done some research on how to germinate date seeds and found a website that recommended vermiculite. That’s a silicate mineral, very much comparable to cat litter. I got a litre on Ebay, just to test it. It comes in different grain sizes, you can see that I took a rather small one.

You put some of the vermiculite into a plastic box (luckily, I discovered 300 ml ice-cream boxes at my supermarket!), add some spoons of water, add the seeds and cover it up with more. Or you just put in more at the beginning, mix it and press the seeds into the vermiculite. Date seeds need a rather high temperature of 25°C (77°F), according to the website I consulted.

Date and Almond Seeds in Vermiculite

Date and Almond Seeds in Vermiculite

I have also put 7 almonds into vermiculite to make up for the rotten ones I dumped earlier. Fingers crossed!

I didn’t plan on growing a date tree, but like with the apples – I cannot resist any seeds anymore!

Addition February 9th:

Take great care not to add too much water or you will see this after some days:

Moulding Vermiculite

Moulding Vermiculite

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…

Getting an Avocado Tree from an Avocado

As I wrote earlier, I had bought an avocado today, whose seed I want to turn into a bonsai tree. Just for the sake of completeness, I will write how to do it:
1 Get an avocado.
Carefully cut in in half without cutting too deep into the seed.
Eat the flesh in salad, guacamole or just pure with some salt, pepper and lemon.
4 If necessary, clean the seed.
5 Get three toothpicks or similarly thin sticks and  prick them into the avocado seed about a third from the top (the pointy part).
6 Get a container like an empty mustard or olive glass with a diameter not much larger than the diameter of the seed.
7 Place the seed inside using the toothpicks to not let it sink in completely.
It could look something like this:

Avocado seed in glass

8 Wait. And refill and change the water from time to time.
(I know, I could’ve added that to the previous post, but I wanted to be able to find it easier, so I can later determine how long it took to germinate.)