How many of you are aware that more than half of Texas is already under severe drought conditions? It’s only spring! In years past, we’ve seen towns battling grass fires, farms struggling to feed their livestock and crops, counties imposing water restrictions, and even increased grocery prices that impact your family budget. Unfortunately, it looks like this year will be no different. Water is the most valuable resource on the planet, and it’s slowly slipping away.
So what are we supposed to do over time to make sure we don’t break our budgets, conserve water, educate our families, and keep Texas beautiful? One way is upcycling plastic bottles into mini starter gardens. Growing herbs or veggies yourself will crack down on pollution and help water conservation more than you might realize.
Your plastic water bottles don’t just disappear when the trash guys come to empty your recycle bin, it takes thousands of years for them to decompose. Every single plastic water bottle that has ever been produced since 1973 when they were invented still exists. That’s 41 years and counting of Americans throwing out on average over 38 billion water bottles every week worth $1 billion dollars according to Fast Company! To put this into a Texas-sized perspective for you, this is enough plastic to shrink wrap our entire state of Texas every year. We all use too much plastic which means we are wasting too much water! It costs 1.85 gallons of water to make one plastic bottle – only for it to be trashed after consumption and never used again contributing to pollution.
I made my first upcycled starter garden back in 2012 inside my small downtown Dallas apartment to grow spinach, carrots, and celery that eventually made their way into my parent’s raised garden beds. Since then, we’ve grown broccoli, bell peppers, Alaskan peas, lettuce, and so many other yummy veggies from starter gardens that have grown into bountiful pesticide-free plants using only the water they need. We have saved a good deal of money having our own sustainable garden; our bodies couldn’t thank us enough!
You don’t have to have raised beds to have a garden though. Once your seedlings outgrow their starter garden homes, transferring them into bigger clay pots by windows can also produce a fantastic set of plants.
Get planting Texas! Here’s my quick step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own upcycled starter gardens from plastic water bottles. If you have kids, do this project with them. This is a great way to teach them about science and growing their own foods, they’ll love learning all about it!
Step 1: Gather empty water bottles and their caps
Step 10: With one cup full of water, pour water into each bottle. Only pour for a few seconds (watch what happens in the bottom of the bottle)! I watered all 8 bottles with water from that blue cup, which was plenty.
That’s all there is to it! Water that remains at the bottom after watering will be sucked up and used as the soil dries out. Watering once or twice a week is all you need depending on the air temperature. You’ll want to replant your seedlings before their roots become too long so just keep a close eye on them.
Enjoy your sustainability journey and helping Texas conserve water!
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