Putting plastic bottles to work in your garden

By Alastair Otter
Thursday, Jul 27, 2023 LifestyleRecycling

Struggling to keep your seedlings alive without watering them constantly? Try this guaranteed-to-work tip:

  • Gather a few clear plastic cooldrink bottles. We used the large 2-litre ones, but smaller ones will be good for plants that grow straight up.
  • Cut a few centimetres off the bottoms of the bottles, remove the lids and put a bottle over each of your seedlings. Push it into the soil so it stands on its own.

These clever cooldrink closhes works like magic:

  • Because they are clear plastic they allow sunlight in, which the little seedlings need.
  • They also help to keep the plants from drying out. Even if you don’t water them every day, the condensation in the bottle keeps the seedlings from drying out.
  • The opening at the top allows air to circulate, which helps keep fungus from growing.
  • The bottles also keep out the snails, which love to chew on fresh, baby seedling leaves.

The lettuce seedlings in the plastic tray were planted at the same time as the one under the plastic bottle – and it’s clear to see which one is thriving

Mini greenhouse

Even better, the seedlings grow substantially faster in their plastic homes than they do in the hot, exposed sun.

The lettuce plants in the photo above were planted out in the garden about 10 days ago but were all raised from seed at the same time. The bigger plant is the one growing under a plastic bottle dome. The ones in the tray are drying out faster than I can water them.


This story was updated on 2 August 2023