I always loved to recycle things. I also love the idea of turning bottles, soda cans,and containers into something else ; giving new value to the items. I'm sure you'll agree, it's very gratifying to take an ordinary household item and turning them into a value- added material.
I wanted to recycle the bottles to grow plants. Few months back i relocated to America, so i am excited to start my own kitchen garden here.
Preparation of Bottles
- Collect used milk cartons, or bottles in any size or shape you want to use. Rinse them out multiple times and allow them to drain.
- Using sharp scissors cut out the top carefully.
- Drill some holes in the bottom of the bottles.
- I used the soil from ground and mixed it with egg shells and banana peels. (You can use potting soil)
- Now it is ready to be planted.
Step 1: Mint
Mints are very easy to grow. It grows invasive and very easy to propagate. My mom usually plant the mint stem after using leaves for cooking and had many variety in her garden. So i want to try it too.
- Pick the thick stems from the store bought mint and cut at bottom.
- Make sure the cut is right below the node.
- Plant the stem into the soil 1 inch deeper.
- Always plant mint in container.
- I used all leaves for cooking, small leaves only left at some stems.Don't worry it will grow once the root stabilizes.
- Since i used ground soil, there are some weeds. Pluck it
- After some weeks here is my mint plant.
I am using it for Health drink, Biriyani and Chutney.
(First time i tried to grow mint in water medium, but it didn't turnout as i expected).
Step 2: Fenugreek
Fenugreek or Methi is native to Southwest Asia and widely cultivated for its medicinal and culinary uses. It is an all purpose plant. Seeds are used as spice, dried leaves as herb and fresh leaves as vegetable. It tastes like spinach. Growing it is easy and both on grounds or in containers.
- You can directly sow seeds but if you've bought them from grocery stores, soak them overnight to increase the germination rate before sowing.
- I sowed some seeds on ground and cultivated the leaves and seeds. I didn't take the pictures of my first fenugreek plant.
- The picture shows my cultivated seeds and I used the seeds for replanting.
- Leave 2 inches of space for each plant while sowing seeds.
- They'll sprout quickly and you'll see seedlings just within 2 -4 days.
- Fenugreek hates to be transplanted.
And here is my Fenugreek plant
Step 3: Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant species. It grows wild in tropical climates around the world and is cultivated for agricultural and medicinal uses. Aloe Vera is also used for decorative purposes and grows successfully indoors as potted plant.
My landlord removed some aloe vera plants while cleaning her backyard. So i took some cuttings and planted it in container. I used aloe vera gel as skin moisturizer and hair conditioner in my home (Alternative weekends my aunty used aloe vera gel to massage our hair ). So i am happy to have the plant in my garden.
- SkinCare - Rub freshly cut gel on face and wash after 20 minutes to get fresh, smooth and pimple free skin.
- Hair Care - Massage aloe vera gel on the scalp and wash after half an hour. This will not only stop the hair fall but also promotes new hair growth. It is wonderful hair conditioner and gives shine and bounce to your hair.
Step 4: Black Night Shade / Manathakkali
Other names Sunberry and Wonder cherry. The botanical name is Solanum nigrum. You can find more about this plant in below link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_nigrum Check your plant carefully, because it is similar to the poisonous plant Atropa Belladonna https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atropa_belladonna
Manathakkali was found growing in everybody's garden in TamilNadu, India where i grow up. We loved to eat the small black berries of the plant, which is neither sweet nor sour. The green leaves are good for ulcer in mouths and pretty effective. The leaves had slightly bitter taste and used in cooking. The dried berries can also be used for gravy.
I saw the greens are growing along with some weeds, the rain last month must have germinated the forgotten seeds in the ground. After checking the plant( bunch of berries -Solanum nigrum, single berry - Atropa belladonna ), i replanted it.
Its now growing well. Soon i will post dish using the leaves.
Step 5: Roses
I read that saliva can be used as growth hormone for rose stems. I wanted to test it,so i planted one rose stem.Dip the stem in saliva for 15 min and then plant it .
Step 6: Happy Gardening
Soon will plant Corriander, Basil and more herbs. Also planning to paint my plant containers and will update.