How to Make a Hanging Herb Garden Using Recycled Soda Bottles

Posted on Aug 14 2009 - 2:30am by Mike Lieberman

The idea of the hanging garden planter using a soda bottle came after my unsuccessful attempts at upside down vegetable gardening.

One of my readers, Craig Stanton, left a comment saying that I should put the cap back on and grow the vegetables out of the top. That seems so obvious, but I didn’t think of it at all and they’re also easy to make.

These hanging garden planters are a great low cost way to start your own home vegetable garden. You can hang them in a window, on your balcony or anywhere that gets sunlight. I was able to put them on the rails of my fire escape garden.

    Here’s what you’ll need to make one:

  • Tools and materials 2L soda bottle
  • Duct tape
  • Razor
  • Hole puncher
  • Thick twine or thin rope
  • Drill or something to poke hole in bottle cap

    Instructions on how to make a hanging herb planter:

  • Use razor to cut off bottom third or so of soda bottle.
  • Wrap duct tape around the bottom part of the soda bottle. Make sure that half of the duct tape is on the bottle and half is above it.
  • Cut slits about 2-3″ apart in the duct tape and fold over.
  • Punch two holes about halfway down the duct tape. Cut two more on the opposite side.
  • Cut string and thread through two of the holes form the outside in. Do the same on the other side.
  • Drill hole in soda bottle cap to allow for drainage and screw back on.

  • AnitaAvalos

    brilliant!

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  • http://michellereneesgardening.blogspot.com/ Michelle Renee

    Have you thought about doing a how to on making soda bottle planters? They seem easy to make but a video would be helpful. thanks.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Absolutely. I'll have it done before the end of the month. For right now, you can make this http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2009/07/mak… but put the cap on it and drill a hole through the cap.

  • http://twitter.com/containergarden Kerry Michaels

    If you put a little square of plastic window screening over the bottom hole, you would have great drainage – that way you don't even have to drill a hole, just leave the top off.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Another great idea. Thanks for the tip. Most of the windows in NYC apts don't have window screening though. It's our form of a thermostat. :-)

  • Mike Lieberman

    Another great idea. Thanks for the tip. Most of the windows in NYC apts don't have window screening though. It's our form of a thermostat. :-)

  • Padraigan

    What I tried this year Mike, is to cut the pop bottles about three quarters of the way up but not right through. Take the cap off also. I planted stuff in little pots that would fit into the bottom of the bottle. You could then open the top and water the plants. When the top was down it acted like a little greenhouse. When the plants got bigger, I just opened the top and left it open.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Love the idea. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000032359549 Jesse Mabry

    brilliant!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Thanks. They worked out great.

  • Asileon

    Could you possibly put a small rock and maybe 1/2″ of sand instead of the screening or cap?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I’m sure you can.

  • Ama

    great, but not sure you want to put duct tape near food/plants, i think theres some bad chemicals in most tapes

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Thanks for the heads up.

  • Maikelstonesoup

    What about Fire Dept? Surely it’s not legal to obstruct fire escape…and for good reason, people above you might be trapped. I live in Brooklyn. Super objects to anything [bag of scraps for local compost, bottles] on fire escape. building won’t allow containers outside windows.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I likes. Thanks!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    The entire design of the fire escape is a hazard. The windows barely open. The radiator isn’t stable for footing. 

    J-walking is also illegal in NYC…but it doesn’t get enforced too much.

  • Melonrose

    Hemp twine will naturally decompose from contact with the wet soil – then the bottle will fall, damaging the plant.

  • Joy

    What a cool idea! I’ve had bad luck growing herbs in plastic containers (but they were darker and thicker than those) before. What herbs worked best for you all?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Good call on that.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    MInt, oregano, parsley and tarragon worked well for me.

  • Byo

    cool

  • Lynn Weber

    Awesome idea…I was worried for a minute because I don’t drink soda but while cleaning up the ‘bar’ at the house I found 2- 2 liters of soda a guest left for mixers. Poured out the soda and now I’m on my way to a new hanging garden for my upcoming RV lifestyle!!

  • Lynn Weber

    Awesome idea…I was worried for a minute because I don’t drink soda but while cleaning up the ‘bar’ at the house I found 2- 2 liters of soda a guest left for mixers. Poured out the soda and now I’m on my way to a new hanging garden for my upcoming RV lifestyle!!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That’s what’s up!

  • Scott P

    You gave me an idea- this would probably work by stringing the bottles in a downward motion. You could drill a hole in the neck of each bottle and dangle another under it (leaving some space for the plants to grow out) to make a chain of growers for a apartment patio or such. If you drill a hole in the cap of each one, the water can drip into the plant underneath it too. You could also use a 20oz bottle on the bottom to catch excess water if needed.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Good call on that. Check out http://www.WindowFarms.org. They have something like that.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman
  • allmanbrothersfull

    Awesome I had an idea why not use a three liter bottle and just keep the cap off??????:)sounds doable luv this I hope to be able to get this under way ASAP Thanks so much I also like the idea of hanging them together thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I like it.

  • johanna Moon

    I am using milk crates and burlap – it is reusable and I can stack them on concrete blocks and recycled wood.  I do have a railing as well and think I will do this there so I can grow more.  thanks for the idea

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Ohhh I like that!

  • splashingwater

    I like the simple intructions.  I just made one.  I lined the inside of it with newspaper, to help keep the roots dark.  I am eager to start using my new planter!  It’s a great idea for urban living.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Most def.

  • Garet Bleddynn

    Out of curiosity, what all plants have you tried growing upside down? I’ve read in the Square Foot Gardening book that squashes and such will strengthen their stems when growing up a trellis so I wondered if zucchini could be grown this way.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Mostly herbs without success.

  • GUEST

    I read the same Garet, Im going to try some cucumbers.

  • DJones

    SO glad I found your site:) Was wondering if it would be possible to somehow tape the cut off bottom back onto what is now the bottom and make it a self-watering container?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Here’s the how to on that http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2010/06/self-watering-container-made-out-of-a-soda-bottle/

  • DJones

    Thank you:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1823530126 Line Bonneau

    Love the idea to get kids involved by decorating container. One concern though: how about plastic leaching health risks? Is it safe to eat food grown in such containers?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing. It’s also likely better than what’s bought in the supermarket.

  • Norma Gunter

    love this idea my 2year old gradedaughter helps me in the garden. boy aer we going to have fun with this .

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That’s awesome!

  • Ailyhsaun

    To the idea about turning these into self watering …. I would think a bit of screen put along the “top” and leaving the cap off …. reattaching the bottom would make it a sort of self water wouldn’t it?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That might work.

  • Mike T.

    Thanks for posting this project!  I have three “bottles” up and running in my backyard so far..  one has thai basil, one has sesame seed plants, and the last will have (I hope) nasturtiums.  Awesome idea!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Nice bro. Get it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1791806428 Megan McLees

    This is so great! I am going to make several of these, thanks for the idea!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Glad you likes.

  • Adrian

    This is great. This gets me thinking: I’m going to try this and see if I can find attachments for a hose pipe. If I set a rain tank with an output higher than the bottom of the bottles, I can connect dozens of bottles together with a hose (T intersection to each bottle bottom), then I can irrigate from below with a single turn of a tap from the rain barrel. Can’t wait to try it!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Sounds pretty interesting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003310541364 Donna Lynn Golladay

     if it works, we’d all love to see pics of that – good luck!

  • Lorenzo

     Mike, what kinds or plants have you been able to successfully grow in the soda bottles?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Mostly herbs and shallow rooted veggies like lettuce.

  • Archana Vasudevan

    Hi, what kind of string / twine or rope do you use? I use yogurt container planters in my balcony garden, and wanted to use them to grow strawberries. apparently they appreciate the height. I want something that will hold them up, rain or shine. I would hate to see a planter topple down. So would the lady living downstairs. :D

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I just used thicker twine.

  • Nahk77

    Great blog Mike….
    Btw, have u thought ab out taking the bottom of the bottle that u cut out and attaching it as a water reservoir with wick thru the bottle cap for a self watering bottle container?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Word. I like that idea.

  • plastic pipe

    Great tips. very
    well-written, keyword-oriented and incredibly useful. its really interesting
    to many readers. I really appreciate this, thanks
     

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I seriously hope that you aren’t charing a client and calling that link building. Poor form.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=554109154 Naomi Miller

    You can probably use some heavy duty nylon twine. It’s the same construct as rope on boats, so it can handle the weather and weight,

  • Lrobb

    Brilliant idea!  I’ve loaded my balcony railing this summer with sweet peas and dahlias in pop bottles and squash plants in 4L milk containers!  My elderly neighbours actually think it’s cool and people keep stopping to look as they drive by (small town).  I’ll have to rig up some sort of ‘support hose’ for the squash when they get bigger, but thanks for the tip!

  • Wren Paasch

    I wonder if you know about how much a soda bottle planter full of soil and plant weighs? My apartment building is aluminum siding on the outside, and though I found hooks that I can put into the ceiling of my balcony, they only support five pounds (or else you risk warping the siding). I’d love to do hanging baskets or some such but they’d be way too heavy. This might work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.owens.90834 Ashley Owens

    Hello, I just joined and read this idea. I think it is very neat, and I think my 3 1/2 year old will love to help me and decorate. I have a question or comment, many people are talking about the health risks of plastic. What if any is the difference of using food grade plastic to eat out of vs. planting in? Thank you.

  • Lori B.

    I am thinking about making up a bunch and having them hang over the outside of my balcony railings to leave more space on the inside. My balcony is only 6 feet wide by 2 feet deep. :) Great idea!

  • homegroan

    If you put a coffee filter in the bottle before adding soil, the water will drain when you take off the cap, without any soil loss. :)

  • MyKinKStar

    Use ice when you water them to melt slowly, versus pouring in a bunch of water weight all at once.

  • Dirty ol’ hippie

    You can also line the outside with tin foil or use a non clear bottle to help keep the roots from drying out but also bring in enough to keep the roots warm :) along with your advice and everyone’s input it will be perfect :)

  • Ace

    This could help too!