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hanging milk bottle planters


I had an idea for using plastic milk bottles as hanging planters – can’t now remember how or why the idea came to me, maybe because I’d run out of room for standing pots so had to try something else? – but had a go at it.

I cut the front off down to what I thought would leave a reasonable planting depth and put holes in the bottom for drainage. That much worked.

For hanging, the obvious way was to put a pole through the handles and hang that, but I thought, if I wanted to remove a single plant, I’d have to take the whole lot down and slide the outside ones off so that I could remove the one I wanted

So I tried cutting the handle at the base to leave a hook to slip over the rod or whatever it was hanging from, but once the handle had been cut it had no strength and just pulled up so the bottle fell off.

So it was back to the original plan. It works

I could perhaps have cut the neck down a bit more, as it is, the plants are a bit shaded in the overhang (especially as the bottles don’t hang straight), but I didn’t know how much that might weaken the whole thing; the shoulders and collar add some bracing for the handle.

My idea was to build some kind of frame to hang the poles from; but if I had the planters on poles they’d need to be secured to the frame, which would need sticking-out bits to hold the pole ends

Then I thought, if I hang the poles on the frame with S-hooks, I can build a frame that won’t need any protrusions to get caught up on – I could hang each pole on a few S-hooks and the weight would be evenly distributed along the frame. I’d still have to take each pole down to get a single plant out but I can’t see any way round that.

I had thought of hanging them individually on S-hooks, but that would mean it hanging sideways, unless I cut the side out instead (just thought of that!) or they do offset S-hooks with the ends at right angles to each other!

These are 4-pint bottles, the smaller would be too small, and I don’t often get the larger sizes (won’t fit in fridge!).

No doubt someone will come up with a way to improve the idea, at least I hope so!

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You are very inventive. I think it's clever

25 Jul, 2015


The good thing is that the roots of each plant to not get tangled up with other plant roots. Also the milk bottle
can be removed by cutting it, and cutting again to put
the plant out in the garden, without disturbing the roots.

25 Jul, 2015


Very inventive

25 Jul, 2015


Clever Fran! :)

25 Jul, 2015


Fran I love they way you put down all your thought processes. My head was in a whirl by the end. You think of the most amazing things. How did you manage to make drainage holes? Have you tried heating an old fashioned metal meat skewer and melting a hole? Works like a dream.

25 Jul, 2015


I really like the shopping cart you have converted to a planter. It seems that it would also do double duty as a garden cart to move plants, bagged soil or anything else you might need to move around.

25 Jul, 2015


Thanks Bathgate and Diane and Paul and Karen.

@ Stera: I have an awl (I think it’s called; small metal rod with point and wooden handle, for making pilot holes for screws); I put just the tip through, to make the smallest hole possible.
I have some barbecue skewers; I used to heat one of them on the gas ring to make holes in 5-litre water bottles, which are quite a bit tougher to get through – don’t like leaning too heavily on any point or edge in case it slips, as in fact it did a few times.

@ Loosestrife: that came with me from my old flat. I had several (not all at once) that I rescued from being dumped in the street – two were deep ones that were really too deep for planting, and one was a shallow one like this, but the wheels were magnetic to stop it being taken out of the shop over the magnetic mat (ha, that worked!) so I had to lift the front to get the wheels off the ground to move it. This one is roll-free and very handy. I’m thinking of using it as a mobile nursery, once I can get the space for it – doubt it’d roll so easily over grass

26 Jul, 2015


Depending on the size of the S hook you should be able to turn part of the hook to one side using two pairs of pliers (one to hold and one to turn) if you have a bench vice even better. Or in your best recyling mode, make your own hooks from wire coat hangers.

26 Jul, 2015


I hadn't thought of that, Urbanite - I'm not sure I've got the tools or the strength to bend the hooks, and anyway that might weaken them. I did think of putting a loop of string through the handle and hanging the hook on that, which should have the same effect - the loop would go side-to-side. Hadn't thought about wire coat hangers either - well, not in a load-bearing sense! I usually over-build, to make sure it's going to be strong enough to take the strain

1 Aug, 2015


Very clever, Fran! A couple of years ago I used 1lt milk bottles down on the allotment. I'd noticed some people using them to frighten birds - tied to a piece of sting strung across their plot - they move with the slightest puff of wind but look unsightly. It occurred to me that I could use them as plant "labels". I turned back the the paper on itself so the unprinted side was now facing outwards. I then stuck it down with some tape after writing the plant name & planting date on it. (Doesn't work on the ones with plastic sleeves). I then put them upside down on a cane through the opening. I later had to modify that a little by making a hole in the centre of the lids & pushing the cane through there. Works a whole lot better! You can't really use them for a 2nd season, as I found out when trying! (They disintegrate!) Didn't use the system for more than 2 years as we stopped using the litre bottles of milk.

3 Aug, 2015


I used 2-pint bottles, buried beside plants, with holes in the bottoms, that I'd fill with water and put the lid back on, so that the water would leak out at root level without evaporating from the top. At least, that was the idea, but I think I made the holes too big, so it all sort of gushed out in one go rather than seeping. but at least the roots got water.

maybe they could be cut into s trips and hung as bird deterrents; not sure if whole bottles would be necessary, unless the cap was left off so that the wind whistled through them!

I've tried using them as plant labels - mine have plastic wrap "labels" so they're not much use (not that I'd thought of trying them anyway) - but I have to use bullet marker pens to get the writing big enough so eventually it gets rained off. I had thought of writing halfway down, folding the tab over and planting both ends to keep the writing dry, or drier, at least, but not got round to trying that yet.

I've been saving the plastic lids to hang as mobiles (maybe they'd do bird-scaring on their own?) they also make good emergency washers for putting up shelves etc to stop the screw coming out

5 Aug, 2015

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