Saturday, March 31, 2012

Re-purposing Water Bottles

I admire inventive and creative minds.  People who solve problems creatively always impress me and the other day my assistant impressed me with this great idea:  a plastic bottle watering can.

For her up-coming gardening display at the library, she wanted to have some living examples of gardening and so she purchased some soil, some peat pots and some marigold seeds.  She chose marigolds because they sprout quickly – 7 to 10 days – and she wanted to have some green in the display from the outset. 

The newly planted marigolds were placed on trays and set in on the window sills in the staff room where they can soak up the sun as they burst from their seed pods and form into plants.  For the first two days, my assistant took them one-by-one over to the sink to be watered.  This got old fast and she decided there had to be a better way of watering the small pots without making a mess.  We water the big plants in the library with a juice jug.  It was just too big for the job. 

She considered going to the store and purchasing a small watering can.  What’s a couple of dollars when it means an awesome display? 

Librarians are nothing if not frugal.  From the first day of their employment the word budget is woven into everything they do often accompanied by the words tight or restrictions.  Want and need are clearly defined.  My assistant realized that a small watering can for a temporary project fell quite definitively into the category of want.  And so she got creative!

She took a 500 ml water bottle out of the recycling bin and, using a push pin, poked holes in a circular pattern near the top of it.  She then filled it with water, put the top back on and proceeded – successfully! – to water the marigolds in their little peat pots by squeezing the water out through the holes.  It was the perfect no-cost solution! 

Use a push pin to poke holes near the top of the bottle.
I decided to try to make my own, larger version of this practical little invention.  I took a 2 litre pop bottle and poked holes into it like my assistant had done with the smaller water bottle.  It works great! 

This cheap project takes mere seconds to complete and can be totally customized.   Use a small bottle for smaller plants and a larger bottle for larger plants.  Changing the pattern of the holes will also change the spray area.  Adjusting the pressure with which you squeeze the bottle will accommodate different plants’ different needs. I suggest that you make a few in different sizes and see what works best for you.  The rejects can still be recycled! 

Squeeze the water out in a gentle spray.
I’m so looking forward to my assistant’s gardening display, which will include a sample and instructions for making her plastic bottle watering can as well as the future marigolds.  When the time comes to change the display, we will give the marigolds to the kids that attend Story Time as gifts of appreciation for coming to our program.  We may even show them how to make their own watering bottle so they can continue to take care of the flowers.  

Stay tuned for the book spinner garden - coming soon!

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