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Many years ago, a search for a scouting project required growing plants, recycling materials and putting ideas to work. In the Northeast, the planting season can be fickle, so ingenuity was very important. In the end, this became a popular project. Over time, I’ve seen a few variations on this theme. It’s not just a scout project, you can do this to start seedlings before spring planting, sustain house plants, or force bulbs. Consider adding personal touches to the outside of the planter or placing it in a decorative pot to make it special.

Using your recyclables
· 1, 2 or 3 liter plastic soda bottle
· fabric strips, approximately 2 inches by 10 inches-the material must be porous, such as a wash cloth or cotton
· potting soil or rich dirt from your yard or garden

Put it together
1. Measure approximately half way up from the bottom of the bottle. Mark it several times around the circumference. This will give you an even cutting line.
2. Using a utility knife or sharp tool, cut the bottle in half using your marks as guides. Now you have two separate pieces. The bottom will hold water, the top will be inverted to hold soil and your planting.
3. Wash the inside of the bottle thoroughly to remove residue from the container.
4. Push one or two fabric strips through the neck of the top half of the container. Half should remain inside, the other half coming out the neck
5. Fill the bottom container half full of water.
6. Invert the cut top half of the bottle and place it in the bottom half.
The bottom half should look like a bowl with high sides. The inverted top should fit snugly into the bottom. The fabric strip will now be floating in the water.
7. Your planter is ready for soil. Fill it to ½ inch from the top. Make sure the fabric strip is covered with soil.
8. Plant with your choice of seeds, small plants or bulbs.

The fabric serves as a wick to keep soil moist. The water level is easily viewed through the plastic container, whether it is tinted or clear. The plant will thrive for days or weeks without without guesswork about watering.

If creativity is your middle name,
· encase the planter in pretty fabric and secure with ribbon
· place it in a larger decorated pot
· decorate the plastic itself with craft paint or appliqués

These planters are so easy to make and use materials right at home. Make new ones year after year, and as many as you need. What a bonus for plant lovers and avid gardeners. Enjoy beautiful fuss-free greenery any time of the year.