Urban Leaves India: 5 types of containers to begin with

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

5 types of containers to begin with

A bottle cast away, makes an ardent plea
"Make a self watering can devise out of me"

"I may have cracked and to hold water may fail,
But I can still hold plants well", says the battered pail.

"Donot discard me as useless, Oh dear man!
Sow seeds of joy in me" urges the disposed can!

"I've been used enough for washing!" cries the weathered tub,
"Now make me a part of the Urban Leaves Club!"

Earthen pots and thermocol cups and plastic throw-aways are we,
Use us judiciously and some amazing results you will see!

                                                                                        Swati Barve ( my dearest little sis )

To start off a kitchen garden, you dont really have to go out, buy expensive pots and containers.
Have fun with your creativity, give a thought to reusing and recycling stuff around you and you will be surprised at what can be achieved!
Self watering can!

These can be made from recycled Bisleri 1 liter bottles or slightly larger jars.

  •         Take any plastic bottle.
  •          Cut it into half
  •          Drill a hole in the cork
  •          Pass a coir rope or nadi (used to tie pajamas, petticoats)/ rope cut out from old hosiery material through the cork
  •          Invert and place the top half of bottle into the lower half and fill the lower one with water
  •         One end of the rope should come out from top and one end immersed in water.
  •          Fill up the upper part with good nutrient soil and plant saplings like Basil, Tulsi, ginger, garlic, mint ….
Why are these bottles useful?

Plants need moisture and not water. Most of the pests’ attacks on plants, even after using good soil are due to excess watering. When we put too much water it fills up all the air gaps in soil, making it difficult for microbes and soil organisms to breathe and they die. This affects the health of soil and plant as most nutrients from soil are made available to plants by microbes.
Using self watering cans helps us in many ways. 

·         It enables the plant to take in only as much moisture that it needs.
·         It helps conserve water, otherwise wasted due to over watering.
Observe the difference between plants in regular pots and those in self watering cans. Draw your observations and share with friends!

What can be planted in such bottles?

 To name a few.
·         Basil
·         Lemon grass
·         Chillies
·         Garlic
·         Ginger
·         Kadipatta
·         Mint
·         Celery
·         Spinach

Experiment with what you like and use in your food.

Take any plastic bottle              
Cut it into half

drill a hole in the cork
 Pass a coir rope or nadi (used to tie pajamas, petticoats)/
 rope cut out from old hosiery material through the cork
Pass a chord or nadi or coir rope through it
Invert and place the top half of bottle into the lower
half and fill the lower one with water

One end of the rope should come out from top and one end immersed in water
 Fill up the upper part with good nutrient soil and plant saplings 
like Basil, Tulsi, ginger, garlic, mint ….

Other recycled containers

Old buckets are best for larger plant varieties like Brinjal, raddish.
Radish in a bucket gets good depth required

Brinjal in a bucket
Spinach in a biscuit tin. You can also grow Pudina and Mint in it.
Pudina sticks bought from the market can be 
grown again after harvesting leaves.

And last but not least.. here is something I found very fascinating...

A pallet Garden.
From the blog: Life on a Balcony 

Read on about how to make a pallet garden HERE.

There are always ways to learn and share. Not having place to garden is no more true. If one watches and observes in nature there are plants everywhere... in nooks and corners, in between rocks and bricks. 

So lets get started and green our surroundings!

Urban Leaves


  1. Hi,
    You have really created a very inspiring website with lots of information. I particularly like the way you have gone about creating a community garden. It must have taken a lot of effort to get together such a great team. I have taken inspiration from you and hope to start a small group of interested people as a part of The World Kitchen Garden day celebration at B'lore.

    I have a small terrace garden and I write about it in my blog at http://xploreandxpress.blogspot.com/

    I'll feel honored if you could visit my blog at your convenience and provide me feedback.


  2. Dear Malati

    That's wonderful news. This will be third event in Bangalore.The first two being Dr Vishwanathan and Geek Gardener. I will be putting up your name as one of the contacts for people in Bangalore who wish to join you.

    Your blog information is wonderful too. Keep in touch and keep sharing the joy.

    Best wishes

    Preeti &
    Team Urban Leaves

  3. Hi preeti
    i have tried to plant a brinjal and chilli in pet water bottle as above mentioned. i have used cotton cloth as a nadi. i have used liquified panchagavya as water source in the bottle. i want to know the time interval for changing water. can you please let me know some enthusiasts from hyderabad.

  4. Brinjal will have to be transplanted later. They grow big and cannot grow to full growth in a pet bottle.

  5. thank you. how abt the interval to change water?


  7. Hello Preeti,your site is most wonderful and result oriented site which would help so many to have good health and knowledge of so much our earth has in abundance.I myself want to start something ,would it be possible for your group to come here in our station and do a workshop/ pls do let me know,thanks

  8. @Preeti:

    Thanks for such a great idea!

    A few things are not clear from the pictures.
    1. Should I keep the cork in the upper half of the bottle after putting it in the lower half?

    2. How much water should be filled in the upper half?

    3. You have said 1 ltr bottles. I have a lot many 'half ltr' bottles, due to my husband's long ayurvedic treatment. I get one empty bottle almost every week. I want to make use of them. Can I use them for such planting?

  9. Yes. The thread has to be passed through the cork which should be in its normal place at the inverted mouth of the bottle. Sorry this is not clear in the picture.

    No water in upper half, only soil. Water should be filled in lower half.

    You can use bigger bottles also.

  10. Change water when it becomes dirty.. once every week if possible. While going outstation it can remain like that for even a month.

    There are some who fear that mosquitoes may breed in it. Mosquito eggs hatch in 5 days, so to be on safer side one can even change after every 5 days.

    But normally I have NOT SEEN any mosquitoes breeding in it.