Sunday, July 6, 2014

Teeter Totter Transplants, Sissoo Cuttings And Avocado Beers

Dalbergia sissoo cuttings in teeter totter planter
Dalbergia sissoo cuttings in teeter totter planter
Teeter Totter Transplants


I must confess, I'm a compulsive collector of seeds, plant cuttings and any item with a potential to grow and doesn't cost anything. It's a really interesting compulsion in many ways, but it also is cause for some creative solutions to issues that crop up due to the volume of cuttings, seeds and sprouts, wanting to be organized, and generally keeping things looking nice.  I jumped on the bandwagon of converting ex-beverage bottles to self-watering planters and this is mostly what this post is about.

Sissoo Cuttings
Dalbergia sissoo cuttings and seeds
Dalbergia sissoo cuttings and seeds


The sissoo cuttings ended up in the teeter totter planter.  I went on an expedition earlier in the morning to collect some sissoo suckers and red yucca seeds.  This was a good time for the sissoo because cuttings are best taken in the mornings and sissoo cuttings perform well during the monsoon season.  The cuttings were trimmed up and a few seeds were collected to boot! (For more details on softwood cuttings, check out finegardening.  Seeds were collected in case of cutting failure.)

Kirkland spiced rum bottle before cutting
Kirkland spiced rum bottle
before cutting

The Bottle

The planter started out as a Kirkland's rum bottle.  I really like the shape of the bottle and didn't have any more wine bottles to convert.  I discovered there is a reason why the wine bottles are so popular...  They are round, no corners that prevent the bottle from being stable in the cradle of the bottom half when put together.  Square and oddly shaped bottles may not be as stable when the top is inverted into the bottom.  For secure seating, more
Kirkland spiced rum bottle after cutting
Kirkland spiced rum bottle
after cutting
creative finishing methods are required.

I'm okay with the teeter totter.  I like quirky things, and the bottle won't be moved around a great deal after set up.  Making the nice, clean cut was easy using the wet saw and Superlok Glass + Premium Diamond Blades Size: 10" x 0.085".  This kind of cut just is not possible using the standard at home glass cutter, which we previously used with very little success on a couple of wine bottles (only one successfully cut).

Dalbergia sissoo cuttings and planter
Dalbergia sissoo cuttings
 and planter
So, on with the cuttings.  We set up the bottle with the potting filter, to prevent the dirt from leaking down into the water below.  The soil was prepared using some garden soil, some fine/course sand and some potting soil for a little bit of nutrients.  It was an even mix of each.
Inverted bottle top prepared for cuttings
Inverted bottle top prepared
for cuttings

The soil was then added in the bottle top, drenched with water, and some holes were poked in to accept the new
cuttings.

The cuttings were dipped in rooting hormone and planted into the soil.  Cotton balls were jammed into the bottle pour spout to wick water into the soil as needed.  This is the same as bottom watering, and makes water changes super easy.

A plastic ziplock bag was set on top of the teeter totter planter to retain moisture during the rooting process, and set up in a kitchen window, along with some of our other little planting projects.

NOTE:  We spotted the tree in a home depot parking lot and spent a lot of time researching what tree it was that we really loved for the shade, shape, bark, color and general appearance.  In our research, we found that this tree receives a lot of negative feedback and are aware of the risks associated.  We really like the tree and are willing to take on the responsibility of cleaning up the leaves, seeds, suckers and prolific root expansion.

Avocado Beers
Avocado pits in beer bottles
Avocado pits in beer bottles

Along with cutting the irregular shaped bottle, we got into some of the beer bottles to hold our avocado pits that are sprouting.  The beer bottles were a complete failure with the standard at home glass cutter.  They were a bit tricky on the wetsaw too.  Just running the bottles straight through resulted in failures, massive cracks and chips.  To get past this, the bottles were cut into about 1/8 the way, then rolled into the wetsaw blade for further cutting.  Success, every time!

We're testing this to see if the dark color of the bottles will help with rooting the avocado seeds better.  Once the seedlings and the avocados are on the way, we'll be updating or Bonsai Diaries with updates.

Avocado seedling in self-watering wine bottle planter
Avocado seedling in
self-watering wine
bottle planter

Post Script:  Other Bottle Cuts

We successfully cut just one wine bottle using the standard at home glass cutter, which is currently being used for an avocado seedling with alyssum.  We used some dryer lint for wicking and it seems to be losing power.  We replaced the lint with cotton balls and the plant is quite perky today.

I really like the Kirkland square bottles for olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  We
Square Kirkland bottles as self-watering planters
Square Kirkland bottles as
self-watering planters
cut a couple of those up for self-watering planters as well, which look pretty good, but they aren't as stable as the round shaped bottles.

After cutting the bottles with a wetsaw and the  Superlok Glass + Premium Diamond Blades Size: 10" x 0.085" blade, we only need to lightly sand the edges for a smooth finish.