Grow plants using waste plastic water bottle

Today I’m going to show you how to make a simple hydroponics system using household waste, starting with plastic bottles. It’s a no-brainer, my friends: This is a no-fail project!

This system of growing plants uses a simple reservoir connected to a water pump. It’s an incredibly basic system, but like all other hydroponic systems, it’s got one big advantage over soil. By using water pumps to feed and water plants, you have a lot more control over the flow of nutrients to your plants.

It uses a wicking action that works for capillary action: as moisture in the growing medium is taken up by the plant roots or lost to evaporation, a wick material in the reservoir under the pot pulls water from the reservoir below, replenishing the moisture.

How to make a hydroponic system using a bottle

You will need:

  • 1l, 1.5l or 2l plastic water bottle (with labels removed)
  • Spool of garden twine, cotton wick, or fabric strips
  • Craft knife/ scissors
  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Seeds/Seedlings
  • Compost/Coco Coir
  • Perlite
  • Liquid nutrients/fertiliser (optional)

1. Prepare the bottles

2. Make a hole in the bottle cap

3. Cutting and tying the wicks

4. Add your growing medium

5. Fill the reservoir with fresh water

6. Sow or transplant into your new system

7. Water and place in a sunny spot

Top Tips

  • If you’re using nutrients in your reservoir try shading it by covering with paper or painting it so no light gets through this will prevent algae growth.
  • You can also try placing the top of a plastic bottle into an old glass jam jar. The system works in the same way but allows us to upcycle sturdy and durable old jars.

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