It's not a big secret around here that I love my plants more than I love the humans around me (okay this was over the line, I take it back :D), but what I love even more is adding green touches in my house without torturing any of my green leafy buddies.Read More
For a while now I wanted a coffee table made from wooden crates and a plexiglass surface. And then it struck me; what if I was taking advantage of the plexiglass’ transparency to infuse some plants in the coffee table? And in case you don’t know that already, my home’s plant threshold is constantly circumvented. :D Since the boxes I wanted to tick were somewhat particular; it was highly unlikely that I would find such a coffee table(at a reasonable price) like the one I was dreaming. But I managed to gather all the supplies that I needed, and I made it happen! Ah, I love it so much, it consists of two wooden crates (like the ones farmers carry their vegetables in, in the flea markets), a piece of plexiglass and –obviously- a bunch of plants to reach the Jurassic Park awesomeness I wanted (I put some dinosaurs too in)!
- two wooden crates (like the ones that you carry fruits in, mine are 50 x 20 cm.)
- white paint
- atlacoll glue
- a 5mm piece of plexiglass (ideal thickness for holding daily objects of 3-4kg without bending, mine is 70 x 50 cm)
- black plastic bags
- plumber’s tape
- plant soil
- fast crawling plants
- When you find two crates in the size of your choice (their color is not very important as you can paint them later), take them home. The only limitation is the height of the bottom, wooden panel, attached to the bottom of the crate. It should be high enough, to create a space with enough space to fit enough soil for your plants, and space to hide also the edge of the black bags that will include the soil (mine panel has a height of approx. 10 cm).
- Turn one crate upside down and apply a generous amount of atlacoll glue on its base. Place the second crate with its base facing the glue. Place inside some heavy books or other heavy objects of 3-5 kg and wait until atlacoll glue dries completely.
- Choose the color of your choice (I chose white plastic paint) to the paint them, or leave them in their natural color. If you paint them, let the, also dry enough before you continue (the drying time depends on the type of the paint).
- Cut some black bags in the middle and make a "nest" in which you will add the soil. Make sure to tape any leakage holes with waterproof plumber’s tape. Use crawling plants that will fill the gaps quickly, and will start hanging from the crates’ edges (so beautiful!).
- Add a little atlacoll glue on the top of the four ends of the crate, and align the plexiglass piece on them. Place the heavy objects on the glue spots, wait 5-6 hours until everything is dry.
- Your garden is accessible from the sides, which is handy for watering and pruning the plants. Make sure not to over water your plants; the lack of drainage holes can easily cause roots rotting. Decorate the table with some cute plants (plantception) and candles, but avoid bulky objects (e.g., disks, books that "cut" the light your plants need desperately).
If you try to do this DIY and you want to share it with us, upload the photo in Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the #iwoiclub hashtag, so that we can see it. We will publish our favourites in Instagram! :)
Credits | Text & Photography: Despina Kortesidou
If every time you have access to every kind of seeds, you feel an internal itch to plant all of them welcome to the club; all seeds are future plant buddies. In this club germinating avocado seeds, as you may know, is one of the greatest challenges. One of the most common cases is to put the seed in water and throw it away two months afterwards as it is covered with mold with no roots in sight. I've tried a thousand and one ways to germinate avocado seeds, and everyone agrees that it takes 2-3 months to do the job. Well, I found out with some basic tips you can crop this time to only one month. Everything you need to know follows below.
Some key problems and how to solve them:
If you remove the seed from the fruit, wash it and place it in a bowl with water, 3 are the main scenarios that you expect (after some months):
- you are filling the bowl with water and you end up throwing away the seed because it became disgustingly moldy on the outside,
- you are forgetting to refill the water regularly and you end up throwing away a dry, dead seed,
- or you are over the top harry to see the first roots emerging from the seed.
Most likely you will end up with the first two scenarios; I was failing for months too. But why?
1. Do you have the avocado seed always half submerged in water?
If you forget to refill the seed container with water and you let it dry for days, forget the germinating. I am sorry but this is the natural flow of events, seeds without regular moisture deactivate their vegetation mechanisms and hibernate. So, water people water.
2. Is the outer skin of the seed slimy/moldy after a few days/weeks?
If you don't forget refilling the container with water, you will notice that after a while the outer brown skin that is covering the seed starts to get moldy/slimy. Don't get discouraged, as that means that you are still on track. Normally the outer skin protects the seed from the water in the tropical regions where the avocado trees grow. If an exposed seed falls on the ground, due to the continuous raining, the outer skin will get rotten and fall very quickly. Then the moisture will penetrate the seed enabling vegetation. So in order to accelerate things: first fully soak the seed for two days in a bowl of water. The skin will soften and you will peel it easily. Then the inner whit-ish seed will be revealed.
3. My seed still doesn't have any roots, why's that?
Now that we got rid of the skin, let's tackle the next problem. The avocado seeds take so long to germinate, because due to their size moderate humidity doesn't reach the core of the seed to activate the development of the embryo plant (= creating of roots and the stems).
So! After you peel the skin take a look of your pit. You will notice that on each seed exists a "seam" that surrounds it all the way around. (If you open the seed at the "seam" with a knife and separate the two hemispheres, you will see a hibernated embryo-plant in the core of it. But don't do that, as it will destroy the seed.) Take 2 toothpicks and diametrically opposite stick them on the "seam" on the top of the pit. With a slight force move them sideways, so you open a thin slot, WITHOUT separating the two hemispheres completely in the bottom of the seed. Pin the toothpicks opposite to the slot you opened and using their support hang the avocado pit avocado in a bowl with enough water, that the slot of the pit is submerged in it. Remember to refresh the water regularly, so that the slot of seed is always moistured. This trick will speed up the process of germination and in 2-3 weeks will see the first root. Leave the seeds in water until they create plenty of roots and at least a small twig with some leaves. Otherwise if you plant the seed before photosynthesis starts, you migh "drown" it with the overabundance of soil nutrients.
Do you think that you are ready to try germinating avocado pits again? Were my tips and tricks useful and if not do you have anything to share? If you have please do in the comments below. Good luck with your gardening adventures and remember that the avocado trees produce fruit after their seventh year of growth (!). So be prepared for a lot of patience my pals! xoxo
Do you know what a huge ragman am I? A gigantic one, it’s phenomenal. I can collect from the recycling or selectively decide not to throw away a bunch thingies, driven by my belief that in the near future I come up with brilliant usage of all of them. The general rule unfolds accordingly: I will collect a piece of "junk" (as my mum enjoys calling them) until I come up with a practical/beautiful usage for them. This rule applies almost every time on everything I find along my way. In this framework, one of my roommates threw away a small white plastic tank as you can imagine I couldn’t resist "saving" it.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, my succulent pots started reproducing threateningly fast. I made floating hanging pots with the smallest of them, but it wasn’t enough. I had to replant them in bigger pots in groups as briefly as possible, so I could save some precious space. However, the ideal pot, low and wide, was slipping from my vision or from existence in every shop I have been. But then, tadaa, I remembered the tank I collected, which was waiting for me patiently in a corner. The moral of my little story; when life gives you small tanks/containers recycle them into pots for succulents.
Supplies: plastic tank/container, old knife with a smooth blade (attention, it can’t be used in the kitchen again), gas stove, marker
1. With a marker draw a line around the container and make sure it is parallel to a flat surface. The height of the line from the tank's bottom depends on how tall you want your -future- pot to be. Open the gas stove and hold the knife’s blade (one without little teeth) on the fire until the blade becomes red (caution! do not touch the blade, the burning would be unforgivably painful!). Place the bottle sideways on a hard surface and dip the knife on the line. Keep cutting by holding and turning the tank with one hand and cutting with the other. Make sure to cut by pulling your hand in one direction, no backs and forths. Thus, cutting will be as “clean” as possible, without “eaten” plastic. When knife cools and stops cutting with ease (like cutting warm butter) hold it above fire and repeat with cutting. Don't forget to open holes on the bottom of the tank for good drainage. If you observe any worn parts in the edge of the pot correct them with the knife while it's still hot. If these parts seem still worn, you can paint the edge of the pot (gold? light grey?). I preferred to keep it as it is and I hid some minor worn spots under some rich succulent branches.
2. Your pot is read. Let's move on planting your cacti/succulents. At the bottom of the pot, over the holes, place some broken ceramics for better drainage. Then mix soil for cacti/succulents with small pebbles in an analogy of 3:1. Pour a thin layer of the mixture in the pot and then align the plants in it. Pick 3-5 plants (for a pot of 20 cm in diameter) since succulents love growing altogether in tight spaces. Be sure to choose plants which have the same watering/light needs so that they can grow collaboratively.
I will urge you to use recycled materials in your crafts as turning into something practical and aesthetically beautiful is a win-win; for you and the poor environment which is drowning in rubbish. By the way, I love the curves in the bottom of the pot. None of the for-sale pots I was looking at looked so fancy. Tell me, would you make something like that or is it too much trouble for nothing for you? I will be glad to know.
Happy creative adventures! xoxo