I have started growing plants without watering them in the classroom please add comments about your plant growing ideas.
I love to grow plants in the classroom However, they normally die a terrible death at weekends and during the holidays because all the soil dries out. Our rooms are set to quite toasty temperatures all year round. This is lovely when coming in from the cold but not so great when growing plants.
Growing plants without watering by setting up a self watering system using string.
My first attempt at growing plants without watering failed. I set up two pots with a string down to the floor. The string went into a 5 litre bottle of water and through capillary action, water went up the string and into each pot. In theory, the water went up the string and kept watering the plants. What actually happened was some strings dried out and killed the plants. Other strings seemed to become water Express ways and flood the plants.
Testing homemade self watering pots.
Plan B for growing plants without watering was another internet sensation. You take the water bottle, cut it in half and turn the top half into the bottom half. You fill the bottom half of the cut bottle with water, and in the top half, put string through the upside down next of the bottle, then pack the next with material then fill the top hal with soil.
Then you plant your plants and in theory, the bottom acts as a water reservoir to the top. The plants get endless water and everyone is happy…
A top top is to cover the water storage area in black paper to stop algae growing. The water can also go stagnant and smell. Never a winning idea in a classroom. When it comes to changing the water, you now need to lift up the top, and find a way to balance it on its neck while changing the bottom end.
Using 5 litre water bottles to trap water inside. Mini self contained ecosystems.
My latest solution growing plants without watering is better though far from perfect.
I bought a few packets of sage as I need lots more plants in my own backyard plus at school. They are already growing there and so survive my drought conditions (I don’t water plants due to mainly laziness, plus environmental reasons and the fact all outside water bills are paid communally, and I’m the only one with soil).
It’s in it’s very experimental stage. I worked out that I needed a 100% enclosed system. I discovered the perfect solution. My school has bottled water in every classroom. So we have a constant stream of 5 litre bottles.
My kids had a total ball with six empty 5 litre water bottles and a big bag of compost. We found if you take an empty small water bottle and cut off the end, it makes a great soil funnel.
We filled up the bottles to about 15cm and then I added as much water as I could without flooding it. Then we sprinkled seeds through the bottle spout and screwed the lids down as tight as possible.
The bottles wiil remain left on a warm, sunny windowsill. In 2 weeks time, when we come back, hopefully the seeds will germinate and start growing.
What are the benefits and problems of growing plants in plastic bottles.
The benefits of this system is when the plants start growing, all the water and nutrients they need are there. I am likening it to a model Earth. Nothing more can be added. The plants will add extra oxygen decomposition in the soil will add extra carbon dioxide.
The disadvantages are that as the plants are sealed into a bottle, they can’t add the air in the room. They can’t be touched or smelt.
To get the plants out of the bottles, I will cut open the plastic bottles and transplant the plants. I will do this when they are a lot bigger and more robust in the Spring.
The benefits of homemade mini greenhouses.
If this system works, I plan to go into full plant production I want to fully plant up the flower box garden along the fence. I want a sensory garden when some plants are herbs so smell nice in the sun trap garden. Others will be crazy climbers to cover the fence in mini cucumbers.
I want kids to get a passion for gardening and discovering that we can grow simple foods pretty much anywhere.
I read about a man who lived in the city of Colorado who managed to live for a year without buying food. He did however have to use 15 different friends’ gardens to achieve this, growing over 100 different types of plants and eating both deer road kill and go fishing in rivers and lakes.
The amount of time it must have taken him to survive could easily have been balanced out by getting a decent job, shopping like normal and donating most of his salary to good causes. However, this of course would not make as good a story!
I will keep you updated with my latest and greatest teaching ideas.