Miniature Greenhouse For Hanging Soda Bottle Planters

Posted on Oct 19 2009 - 5:30am by Mike Lieberman

Now that the weather has dropped into the 40s, it was time for me to start covering up the plants on my fire escape garden. I started to put my plan into action last week, when I used phone books to get the containers off the metal.

My next step was to set up a miniature green house for the hanging soda bottle planters.

There are two things that I wanted to accomplish – keeping the soil warm and protecting the plant. I made these using materials that I had lying around or were readily available – more soda bottles, old t-shirts and plastic bags.

In setting up the miniature greenhouses, I suffered one casualty and the tarragon bottle fell four stories to its demise. Hopefully that won’t come back to bite me in the ass and they ask me to take everything down.

For some of them, I have the top part of the soda bottle covering the plant. I left the cap off to give them some fresh air and to be able to easily water. For others, I have the bottom part of the bottle covering the plant. These will require me to remove the tops to water.

I’m pretty sure that this should help to prolong the life of the plants through this cold weather.

What do you think?


33 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. bangchik October 19, 2009 at 3:49 am -

    Huh.. I call that very creative!!… very practical for those without real space for a greenhouse. ~bangchik

  2. AnitaAvalos October 19, 2009 at 6:58 am -

    Polluting by throwing soda bottles down the fire escape!? Kidding! Great idea, Mike. Will def use this one once mine gets going and the temps drop. šŸ˜‰

  3. shawna88 October 19, 2009 at 7:11 am -

    I think you're a genius! Keep up the awesome work! šŸ™‚


  4. Alice October 19, 2009 at 7:14 am -

    I do not use plastic bags anymore, I thought they were a bit unhealthy for the plants. This is just my (maybe crazy) opinion anyway. I use a special thermic paper/fabric and place it around the base (to keep the roots warm).
    Thanks for your fantastic posts!

  5. Mike Lieberman October 19, 2009 at 7:23 am -

    Thanks. Pretty sure they should work out. I've been takin the tops off durin the day, then putting back on at night when the temp drops.

  6. Mike Lieberman October 19, 2009 at 7:23 am -

    Yup, I got pissed and tossed it, but of course the temp is getting back up to the 60s again…

  7. Mike Lieberman October 19, 2009 at 7:24 am -

    Thanks Alice. The is wrapped around the bottom half of the soda bottle, so it's not coming in contact with the actual plant. Next project is building something for the containers.

  8. rowel October 19, 2009 at 7:56 am -

    wooah! that's innovative! go save mother earth! =)

  9. Alice October 19, 2009 at 8:30 am -


  10. Mike Lieberman October 19, 2009 at 10:58 am -

    Haha. Thanks. I'm just livin my life, doin my part.

  11. marydelle October 19, 2009 at 5:13 pm -

    Very creative idea for greenhousing your plants. And using found, used things is even better.

  12. Mike Lieberman October 20, 2009 at 6:21 am -

    Yes. Now need to figure out if I leave them on at all times or take off the tops during the day and recap for the night.

  13. Alice October 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm -

    I'd leave them on at all times if it's really chilly. But I might be wrong.

  14. Mike Lieberman October 20, 2009 at 12:29 pm -

    It's still 50s and supposed to get up to 60s. So gonna keep uncovering during the day.

  15. Rose October 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm -

    Dude, if I lived where you live, I'd be all over that! I subscribe to Mary Janes Farm Magazine and she used “disposable” plastic containers w/lids to start seeds in. I've been doing that it works great. In theory, you could start tomatoes in November, transplant hem into your contraption and and have fruit by March!

  16. Sylvana October 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm -

    Sounds good to me! I'll check back later to see how it fared.

  17. Mike Lieberman October 22, 2009 at 5:50 am -

    Really? That sounds like something that I just might try. It won't get too big for the soda bottle? Thanks for the idea.

  18. Mike Lieberman October 22, 2009 at 5:50 am -

    Thanks Sylvana. I'll be checking too šŸ™‚

  19. Mike Lieberman October 22, 2009 at 12:50 pm -

    Really? That sounds like something that I just might try. It won't get too big for the soda bottle? Thanks for the idea.

  20. Mike Lieberman October 22, 2009 at 12:50 pm -

    Thanks Sylvana. I'll be checking too šŸ™‚

  21. MarkRoach March 4, 2010 at 9:06 am -

    Nice going there Mike. We used the cut off 2lt and 5lt soda and juice bottles as cloches for our smaller plants last winter and they worked very well (…). We don't get quite as cold as you guys do obviously , just enough frost to kill the plants šŸ˜‰

    You should definately have holes in the top of the cloches for the plants to be able to get air through, this also helps with the condensation problem. You do want to keep a bit of condensation though as it will eventually run down the sides and help keep the soil moist. I also helps to keep a bit of humidity in the the cloche (winter air is usually very dry).

    For the bigger plants in pots, you can also try building a small “tomato frame” out of thin bamboo poles and wire and then wrapping it with plastic sheeting.

  22. Mike Lieberman March 4, 2010 at 12:45 pm -

    Thanks for the idea Mark. Once the weather dropped into the 40s here, they didn't survive at all. I kind of figured as much. Just wonder how much the coverings helped out.

  23. Manure Tea Gardening March 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm -

    your shares are great fun to see your creative idea shares Annie

  24. Urban Gardens May 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm -

    Always something cool from you Mike!

  25. Mike Lieberman May 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm -

    That’s how I roll.

  26. big pony polo May 29, 2011 at 2:40 am -

    Hey thanks for this posts. Iā€™m myself a beginner in blogging but these tips can be vital to me in doing my job well.

  27. 7Trees4Victory January 6, 2012 at 4:51 am -

    Hey Mike! I always love your ideas and implement them in my own plans…much props! However, this is a very old post, man. How bout an update?? How did this great idea work for you? Can you send a link to your follow up video? Thanks bro!

  28. Mike Lieberman January 6, 2012 at 8:48 am -

    It worked well and helped to extend for a few weeks, but once it dropped below freezing regularly the plants died.

  29. 7Trees4Victory January 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm -

    Dude….I don’t have to grow on an urban balcony…I grow in a suburban hoop house…but aren’t our goals the same?? Beat Old Man Winter and grow as long as we can…..Will you use your bottle green house to get an early jump on the spring growing season?

  30. Mike Lieberman January 7, 2012 at 12:57 am -

    I don’t need them in LA. Doesn’t get to the freezing point by me.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.