05 December 2012

new SIP

Several of my plants need potting up but I've been holding out on them waiting for the opportunity to put them in recycled SIP containers. I know there are lots of other possibilities in making these but I like how the ones made from coca-cola bottles turn out (the shape makes it easy to pick up the planter one-handed) so I'm sticking to those for now. When I run out of small plants to repot I'll have to figure out what to use to put my big plants in SIPs, a dream for the future....

Anyway, the issue now is that I've decided I want all my SIPs to have watering tubes. Some of the plants are actually starting to grow roots down through the air holes, and I worry that when I take lift the planter part out of the reservoir to water it, putting it back in might damage those roots. I would still have to lift them out occasionally to clean algae growth or the brown stain left from giving them coffee rinsings, but that is not very frequent and not all plants need that (only a few are both in strong enough light and frequently enough watered that they consistently grow algae in the reservoir).

So! I have been trying to find really fat straws or plastic tubing to use for the watering tube but no luck yet. Haven't looked at the hardware store but that's probably where I'll go next. Regardless I didn't want to wait any more so today I scrounged around the house and came up with this solution. I took some old medicine syringes (we have a large collection and on most the markings are rubbing off anyways)
cut off their tips and widened the opening with a steak knife
fitted them together into a tube
and inserted it through a hole in the bottom of the planter part of the new SIP.
Incidentally, this SIP was much faster to make. I heated my knife tip in the flame on the gas stovetop, instead of a candle. Gets hot faster and stays hot. It took half the time to make the air holes. Someday I'll get a wood-burning tool or something to make that job really easy.
I taped the tube to the inner side of the planter to hold it in place (regular old packing tape) and then filled around with soil. Added the plant (Arrowhead here), pat it all down nicely, pour water into the tube to flush out stray soil. It goes straight into the reservoir.
I left the flange on the top syringe-become-tube just to keep the edges clean and make it easy to see in the pot. On the others it was trimmed off... Yeah, it's not pretty and clean like regular tubing would be, but it works!

Here is the plant back in its "home" spot.

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