Thursday, October 6, 2011

Plastic Bottle "Greenhouse"

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When Chris and I moved into our house a few years ago, there were about two plants in the yard... one of them a crazy hedge of bushes along the side of our property, and while I appreciate the privacy it affords, more than once I've considered taking the whole thing out because it is IMPOSSIBLE to maintain. 

The other plant is a rose bush, and I use that term generously. This thing is BANANAS. It is completely overgrown, and I highly doubt that it has ever been pruned. It's one saving grace is that it actually blooms quite nicely. The whole thing explodes with buds and then quickly turns from a green hot mess to a cloud of white. My mother in law says there was one just like it where she grew up, and we've been thinking about trying to "duplicate" it from clipping for awhile so she can have one for her yard.

Here's the problem: I am no green thumb. If I had to rate my horticultural skills, I would call myself a "pale yellow thumb," I guess? Anyway, from what I hear, it can be pretty simple and this is time of year to do it... so this is my attempt.

However, our weather in Pittsburgh recently has been unseasonably cold, and because I want these clippings to take and develop a root structure before frost and the like, I have come up with a little "greenhouse" solution utilizing one of my favorite items to reuse... a plastic bottle.

To give you a little bit of back story here, I pretty much keep everything. I mean, I'm not a hoarder or anything, and I'm hoping not to be buried alive, but I AM marginally obsessed with finding new uses for things that are traditionally thrown away, and for some reason, I am particularly fascinated with creatively reusing plastic bottles.

And from there, it was pretty simple! Reusing (of course) plastic pots from purchased plants, rocks from my yard for some drainage and to block the holes at the bottom of the pots, I filled 'em up with a mix of potting soil and extra dirt from one of my flower beds.

Enter plastic sports drink bottle
Cut off the bottom and you have a perfect "greenhouse" to protect the clipping from the elements and cool weather. 

I was even able to take the caps off this morning to vent it a little because our weather is much nicer today.

As for the clippings, I took three. Each was about 6 to 8 inches, taken from a stem of new growth. Be sure to clip at a 45 degree angle. I took off the leaves and thorns from the bottom two thirds of the clipping, and planted it with about one third of the stem in the soil and add water. I'm told this will work, so let's hope that these suckers grow!

In other unrelated news, I finally got around to making the apple butter mentioned in the previous post. Let me tell you, it's great... I just threw my remaining apples (cored, peeled, and sliced) with a little sugar, ground clove, and ground cinnamon into the slow cooker in the morning yesterday and let it reduce all day. And I mean ALL day. I'll be honest, though... the smell was strong, and while perfectly pleasing for the first couple hours, gave me an apple-scented headache by the end of the day. I'll definitely be doing this again, but next time, it will be an all night apple butter.

Signing Out.


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