When you look around your home, almost anything can be up-cycled or re-purposed in order to create something new. If you’ve ever purchased rotisserie chicken or pre-made salads from your local grocery store, they were probably contained within plastic containers with transparent lids. Have you ever considered that these items can serve as miniature greenhouses for the children to grow plants?
Cleaning Them Out – Aside from making sure you don’t accidentally break the containers while using them, the first thing you want to do is clean them out. Oils and such that are used in these food items may not be very conducive to your children growing plants within them. For optimal conditions, use an organic soap and thoroughly rinse these containers. You wouldn’t want harmful soap residues to kill the roots of the plants once they start sprouting.
Breathing Holes – Every carbon-based life form needs to breath. Using a razor knife, or even a sharp steak knife, cut a few slits in the sides of the clear portion of the container. You don’t want too many as this creation is meant to replicate greenhouse conditions. You only want a couple in order to allow some kind of airflow into the container. If you have too many holes, the container will not be able to trap heat as a greenhouse would – thus defeating the purpose of using these kinds of containers.
Soil – The type of soil your children use is essentially personal preference. These have been made with ordinary dirt, potting soil, organic soils and Miracle Grow discs that expand once they are wet. Coincidentally, the Miracle Grow discs work amazingly well for the beginning stages of a plant as they can retain a great deal of water for an extended period of time. When used in a greenhouse atmosphere, these items are unbelievably efficient.
Shutting the Container – One of the reasons why you want to be careful with these plastic containers is to allow them to be opened and closed as they were intended – with an interlocking design. While it’s still OK to use them if they are broken, the lids can easily slide off or be knocked off by animals should you have pets that would like to make the children’s plants a nice snack. You could always use a bit of tape on one side of the container in order to give it a kind of hinge for opening and closing.
Watering – Due to the way the containers are created, the trays hold water very well. The greenhouse ability of the clear plastic will also keep moisture from escaping while putting it back into the soil. Teach the children how to water properly as too much water can drown the plants. In most cases, plants will thrive as long as the soil is somewhat damp when felt. However, you want to keep an eye out for mold growth.
These containers can make great projects for the children to start a small garden. This can allow them to grow virtually any plant they wish during any time of the year. As long as you can sustain a temperature over 65 degrees within the environment, it is possible to grow anything indoors. During the winter months, make sure that the containers are not in window sills at night. The cold emanating from the glass could harm the seedlings.
Rachael Cherry is a wife, mother, and writer who is passionate about helping connect families in need with high quality caregivers. She has taken that passion and put it to work through NannyPro, a respected online nanny referral service. Learn more by visiting @NannyPro on Twitter.