The return on investment for you and your kid’s education is phenomenal with this idea. The bottle planters are more than free because you help the environment when you convert them to science education tools instead of tossing them into a recycle bin or the trash.
A fashionable belief is that every school needs a dirt garden, a throwback to a bygone time of so-called “victory gardens”. What an extravagant and often wasteful idea.
The no-cost bottle planters you make (along with other SIP variants) have the potential to teach your children more about science, the scientific method, botany, biology, physics, chemistry, nutrition and the environment that any dirt garden ever will.
These bottle planters should be in every classroom in America. Every teacher (and parent) should know how to use them. Not just science teachers.
Unfortunately, few teachers know about them and their educational potential. We can thank the USDA, the National Gardening Association, our land grant institutions and botanical gardens (aka collectively as “big dirt”) for that.
The big question is whether you are motivated to do anything about it?
Growing plants in "artificial soil" in sub-irrigated planter systems (SIPs) is really a simplified form of hydroponics. Few understand that an EarthBox is really a hydroponic planter.
Look at this Flickr photo set. The design I advocate has a larger plant section and smaller reservoir than the design in the photos above.
Pothos is a more low-light tolerant, durable plant than Swedish Ivy. It is what I would use.
This experiment is meant as a fun introduction to hydroponics (or SIPs). We suggest that anybody new to hydroponics start with this experiment.
You will learn (that) what you feed a plant matters more than what the plant grows in.
Plant for all experiments:
We suggest Swedish Ivy /Creeping Charlie. This plant seems to grow no matter what – we even rooted this one in a coconut pound cake ! The roots will set from the nodes. Put the cuttings in a glass of water and wait for roots to appear (aprox 2-3 weeks).
Empty 2 liter soda bottle, wick, fertilizer, plant, lemon or lemon juice, baking soda. Optional: pH test kit or litmus paper, straw, Lego blocks, shredded fabric, shredded paper.