Adventures in the Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

Putting together structures out of scrap is a difficult process.  Another difficult process is communicating your vision to your spouse.  Plastic Bottle Greenhouses are not for the faint of heart.

First, you have to acquire all those bottles.  Seems like it would be easy right?  People drink soda, people recycle, and I live very close to a city recycling center.  I go there every day to pick bottles.  Occasionally, I even get lucky and find some aluminum the regular pickers have missed.  Someday I may even find enough aluminum to pay for the gas I’ve spent getting to the park.  I end up with about a regular garbage bag full of two liters at the end of each day.  You could even say that is the average over all.  What do I have to show for it?  About 1/8th of the bottles I need to finish this project.  People in south St. Louis just don’t drink enough soda, or just don’t recycle enough of them.

I will not be deterred though.  I will keep collecting.

Anyway, when I decided to do this, my intention was to run a piece of bamboo through the bottles and nail each end of the bamboo to the frame at each end.  My husband came out to help because I am short and he envisioned it with the bamboo nesting into the greenhouse frame.  He cut the bamboo and wedged it into the walls.  If there was a plan to hold it in place we were unable to communicate it with each other.  I needed a lot more bottles and it’s been raining, so I let it sit for a couple of weeks.  While I was sleeping I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea.  We could put a dry wall screw at the top and the bottom and thread the wire through the bottles.  Then pull the wire taught to hold the bottles in line.  I’m not invested in the bottles nesting inside the framing.  So I told my husband what I though.  He’s an ironworker.  Wire is his thing.  Holding things together with wire is one of his special job skills.

He came up with a brilliant solution that involves nesting the wires within the frame.  The flaw in this is that he doesn’t believe it is possible for the bottles to line up next to each other and has left large gaps between the rows.  To me this seems like a waste.  If the bottles aren’t going to hold in the heat and let in some substantial breeze, it won’t work very well as a greenhouse.  I don’t expect this to be air tight, but better would be good.  The problem with this design is that he drilled holes to do it.  The holes just are not close enough together for me.  Now there is a debate….  if we put them closer, would they just bow out and cause similar gaps?

So the wiring is actually brilliant and would work well if the spacing was ok I think.  Now to decide what to do.  I apparently have time since the bottle collecting is much slower than I had expected.

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2 responses to “Adventures in the Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

  1. Maybe rather than putting the wire down the center of the bottles you could put holes in the sides of the bottles and almost sew the bottles together with the wire. I believe the holes would still be the same distance apart on the wooden structure but you would force the sides of the bottles columns together. Just a thought I don’t know how it would work in reality. Good luck.

  2. Pingback: Our interpretation of a plastic bottle greenhouse | City Roots and Fruits

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