Vertical Summer Planting!

No one ever said that gardening needs to only be done horizontally - so onwards and upwards this summer - let’s get vertical with our plants! This is a great activity, particularly if you have limited space to garden.

This is such an easy-peasy idea to do with the kids and it makes use of recycled products, so it is definitely a winner this summer. Most of us will have some old 2 litre plastic cooldrink bottles lying around, but if not - raid the neighbours or throw a party so you have an excuse to buy some!

Once you have completed this fun DIY project, place it on the verandah or somewhere the kids can keep an eye on their project while it grows - this is the most exciting part.

Be sure to keep little hands away from the sharp objects, but let them get those little fingers nice and dirty with the planting.

What you will need:

  • 2 or 3 x 2L plastic cooldrink bottles with lids (depending if they stand easy or not)
  • Sharpened screwdriverrdp_4152
  • Craft knife
  • Permanent marker
  • A medium-sized rectangular stencil
  • Well-composted potting mix, enriched with fertiliser
  • Weed barrier cloth
  • Tomato seeds
  • Spray bottle of water

Steps to follow:

  • Before the activity, an adult can drill a circular hole in the bottom of the 1 bottle - if you are doing a stack of 3, then 2 bottles will need to be drilled.
  • Use a sharpened screwdriver to very carefully poke a small hole into the centre of 1 of the 2 cooldrink bottle lids (or 2 if using 3 bottles), for the water to drip through to the second bottle. The bottom bottle won’t have a hole in the lid.
  • Place your stencil halfway down the side of each bottle and use the marker to draw a rectangular shape around it, stopping at the second ridge in the bottle.
  • Use the bottom rounded side of the bottle as a template for cutting the weed barrier cloth - then place the cloth in the bottom of the bottle with the hole in the lid - to stop the soil dripping through
  • Turn the first bottle upside-down and place some soil in the weed barrier cloth, filling it to the first ridge in the bottle - then place a few seeds in a well in the centre of the soil.
  • Repeat the process with the second, bottom bottle (except the weed barrier cloth step, as you won’t have a hole in this bottle) - then slot the spout of the bottle with the hole in the lid, into the hole in the bottom of the other bottle with the whole lid, and stand the planter up in a spot in the garden or the verandah in a spot with lots of light.
  • Water the top bottle planter and let the water drip through to the second (and third) bottle.
  •  Note: A suggestion for sowing seeds - do not plant all the seeds at the same time or you will have to harvest them all at the same time. Rather spread your planting over a couple of weeks to ensure fresh, ongoing harvesting, direct from the vine. When the plants are too large for the cooldrink bottle, then transfer them to a semi-shade spot in the garden, tied carefully to a stake so that the vine is supported.
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