The finished soda bottle terrarium might look like this.
PHOTO: GAY NEALE
There's a new kind of extruded plastic, two-liter, soft
drink bottle on the market that can be turned into a great little soda bottle terrarium in a
matter of minutes. And
you don't even have to like what's inside the
bottle, much less drink it, to make one of these
miniature greenhouses. In fact, you'll do yourself and the
world a favor if you scrounge roadsides, or public
"dumpsters" for your supply of empties.
When you have one of these throwaways in hand, just pop off
the black plastic bottom section. (This requires a bit of
force, but it will come off if you squeeze the clear top
enough to get a firm grip on the outer layer of plastic.)
Then, behold! The base of the bottle is an instant
flowerpot—it even has three holes in it for drainage.
Now, with a sharp or serrated knife slice the clear part of
the bottle across its diameter just at the
point before it begins to taper. There's a small bulge here
that you should be able to feel. When you divide the
container immediately below that, you have a plastic
The next step is to cut a small slit about two inches
long on one side of the dome. Then, overlap (very
slightly) the two edges of the cut, insert the open
end of the dome into the pot, and you'll wind up with
a very efficient terrarium, miniature hothouse,
seed-starting bed, or sprouter (to grow edible sprouts, put
wet paper towels in the bottom instead of dirt).
If you want to, you can leave the label on to provide a
sunshade for tender seedlings, then rip it off later. The
label (or any remnant thereof) also makes a handy place to
jot down the dome's contents.
In fact, nothing need be wasted in this operation. Even the
leftover neck of the container can be used as a funnel or
as a "hot-cap" for delicate garden plants.
All in all, bottle recycling is almost enough to drive you
to drink—soft drinks, anyway!