Mark and I put up my greenhouse nearly 2 weeks ago and as we’ve finally entered the spring equinox, I figured I would do a post on how to make a hanging planter for those of you who are space challenged. I’ve seen the upside-down hanging tomato planter thingies and I just don’t like them. I tried the upside-down method of growing tomatoes and found that it’s just not worth the 3 or 4 tomatoes the plant manages to eke out. I have learned that, when modified, these planters are excellent for starting and growing small batches of lettuce, spinach and radishes. The added benefit is that the rabbits can’t get at these!!
Objects and tools needed:
- washed clear 2 liter soda container
- utility knife or sharp pocket knife
- hole punch
- potting soil, your own soil/compost mix, or any other growing medium available to you
- lettuce, spinach or radish seeds
- a place to hang your planter
Start by removing the label from a clear, 2 liter, soda container. Use a sharpie to mark the cut-off point (about 2.75″ from the bottom). Sometimes there is a mold mark line there and you can just cut around that.
Take the bottom, flip it over so it can be snugly inserted into the opening you’ve just created. Use a hole punch and punch holes in 1/4 increments around the container as shown in the 3rd picture of this grouping. (*Please forgive my errant thumb.) *Use the sharpie to number at least two of the holes so you can line it up later.
Get a pair of old pantyhose (nylons or whatever you’d like them to be called) and cut off about 3 – 4″. Place the cut off piece into the mouth of the container. This will act as your ‘screen’ against the dirt falling out of it and will provide extremely adequate drainage in the coming growing months.
Fill with soil, making sure to leave at least 4 inches of space so the ‘lid’ will fit and the seeds will have room to sprout. Poke some holes in the ‘lid’ with a sharp knife (please don’t use a dull knife as this may cause injury).
Plant your seeds. I’m using a space hybrid spinach for this example. This spinach is designed for growing in close quarters and will fill up the top of the container quite nicely by the time you’re ready to harvest it. (Note: I did cover the seeds up, I merely forgot to photograph it.)
Place the ‘lid’ inside of the container and make sure you line up the holes. The holes are used to hang the planter.
Cut 4 pieces of strong twine measuring 5 feet long. Double each one and thread through the holes. Do this with all 4 holes. Tie up or knot your hanger and hang it up. You’ll notice that I have an inch of space between the bottom of the ‘lid’ and the soil. This will allow the sprouts a bit of room until you need to remove the lid.
Pour a 1/2″ of water into the top of your new hanging planter. This setup acts like a mini greenhouse so you won’t need to water it a lot.
When the plants are nearly touching the lid, take the planter down and remove the lid. Rehang the planter and water as needed until you’re ready to harvest. Do not hang this planter in an area you don’t want to be wet.
Update: 03/21/2015 @ 5:19 PM
I’ve also made a couple of planters from milk jugs and planted lettuce seeds in them. You would make these in the same way as you do the soda bottles.
Questions? Feel free to ask!!