Hello everyone, I would like to detail the creation of BottlePlants.com in hopes that you follow the guide to create your own version locally.
The idea for BottlePlants.com came to me during my weekly meditation session. In the days before the session I had been researching gut health and found that antibiotics remove all the bacteria from your intestinal tract. This is all fine and dandy aside from the fact that fungus begins to overgrow due to the lack of competition.
A great way to reduce fungal overgrowth and restore the natural balance is to consume fresh natural herbs like oregano, cilantro, basil, ect. I was stuck with the question, "how do I create a low cost easy way to grow and house these wonderful herbs?". During meditation the dots started connecting and I recalled seeing an advertisement for the Kinkajou Bottle Cutter. It then came to me, "what if I take the top of the cut bottle and reverse it to become a self watering planter?".
After getting home from the session I started doing some googling and saw some pinterest posts of the idea. I was not surprised as in this day in age anything you can think of has been done a dozen times over generally. The inspiration was there though and I made the purchase of the bottle cutter.
As a disclaimer there is some trial and error and a level of skill to be obtained with the bottle cutter. Even now my ratio is about four out of ten usable bottles from cutting with the Kinkajou. So with a bit of practice and watching tutorials you can get a decent turnout from your efforts.
I had initially thought local bars would be a great resource for bottles. After reaching out to a few and getting some beer and liquor bottles cut I found that beer bottle glass was too thin and most liquor bottles are clear. The downside to clear glass is that UV light is able to get to the roots. Dark colored brown bottles are best for plants, this lead me to the use of wine bottles.
A suggestion from @aprilangel to reach out to a local wine bar she had performed at payed off huge! I made a visit with a bottle plant with the intention of explaining the idea in hopes they would let me use their discarded bottles. After entering without me saying a word they said "oh, are you here for the bottles? they are all out back".
Heading back for the last box I ran into the owner that asked what I was up to with the bottles. I explained my plan to grow fresh herbs to improve gut health and she loved it. She had mentioned how me taking the discarded bottles was a huge help as they were taking them to recycling themselves which took up time they didn't have. How wonderful I thought, a major part of the process was now taken care of. I visit their local location once a week to collect the bottles, I now have and unlimited supply.
My next break was getting some free dirt from my local city. My town collects all of the plant debris after storms and composts it to make mulch and dirt. They then distribute it to the local community for free from parks nearby. So far my major costs are covered and there is little to no overhead in the process.
In a rush to get a product to market I went to the local flower nursery to create some bottle plants to sell. I found six plants for two dollars of various flowers. Purchased what I thought looked nice and headed home to plant them.
Ended up with about 20 bottle plants and took them to a local town that has lots of foot traffic. My plan was to just sit there and sell some to passers by but ended up in a collaborative art store. The owner loved the idea and offered to sell them for me at a 60/40 split. All of a sudden with minimal effort my bottle plants were in an actual store!
As of now I am about two months in and waiting for my herbs to grow. A very slow process I must say but soon enough they will be ready for market. I plan to get a booth at some local festivals and sell from there, that way I can give the "gut health" speech. If you are impatient like me, this will be the hardest part of the process.
In a rush I purchased some seed starter trays to get things going while I got the bottles ready, I would suggest not doing this. I now have to delicately transfer each of these seedlings into bottles without damaging them and I have to do about six plants per bottle. It takes up a lot of time and is a chore to say the least. The best option is to plant directly in the bottles and just be patient about it.
As of now they are selling in the store for $25 and from me $20. I am in talks with a glass expert to fuse the two bottles back together making one solid piece, these will be selling for much more if it can be done. My next goal is to find a nice wet saw and grinder to make splitting and finishing the edges much easier. As of now I am sanding the edges by hand which takes a lot of time and makes my shoulder hurt after a couple bottles.
I will continue to post progress updates and will answer any questions you may have. There are plans to do a step by step tutorial on prepping and cutting the bottles. A lot of trial and error so far and still not a perfect process. Thank you for reading, as always your votes and comments are appreciated!