I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner. Plant labels for the garden made from the round aluminum pull off tops of nut and other cans. I think I saved this one from a can of cashew nuts. You can simply write on these tops with a permanent marker or you can scratch the name into the aluminum with a nail. If you scratch the name it will be permanent of course, which is great for identifying a tree. You can also label the location of the vegetables you just planted or the flower seeds you dispersed. The aluminum circle makes a nice plant label that doesn’t rust or rot. Plus the pull tab part makes hanging easy.
I got the idea to make these thumb controlled pots from the pottery ones I’ve seen at Historic Williamsburg. The original earthenware “thumb pots” were used in 17th and 18th century English gardens. I reproduced this clever watering device using salvaged plastic bottles and jugs. It is ideal for watering delicate seedlings. I use this watering pot all the time now.
Find a suitable “pot.” I love using maple syrup containers but I was successful making other smaller pots with smaller plastic milk bottles. The smaller bottles are easier for children.
Drill a hole in the center of the cap of your container. I used a 7/32nd drill bit. Next, drill small holes in the bottom. I used a 1/16th drill bit. When using softer plastic containers, it is possible to poke holes instead of using a drill. Make sure the cap is on tight; otherwise the water will not stay inside.
How it works:
It works similar to holding your thumb over the top of a drinking straw.
1. To fill your thumb pot, place into a bucket of water. Do not cover the hole in the top.
2. Hold your finger over the hole in the cap to prevent water from escaping the bottom as you lift.
3. Continue to hold your thumb over the hole as you lift.
4. Take your thumb off the hole when you are ready to water your plants. Removing your thumb allows the water to gently stream out the holes on the bottom.
This is a craft that is good for large groups of kids like school classes because the mushroom trays can be saved by the parents and the overall project will be very inexpensive. The handle for your “basket” can be made with a lot of different materials but I like the natural ones best. The photos show a basket handle made with a twisted piece of drift wood. You can grow grass seeds or wheat grass berries.
I waited too long to take these pictures: the grass is getting too tall. When we are done enjoying our grass baskets, I let my chickens enjoy the greens ! No wasting.
Note: This project is meant to be a centerpiece and is not meant to be carried around by the handle.
I like growing wheat grass because it doesn’t take a huge amount of planning ahead. The plants will sprout in just a few days. When I grew the wheat grass in these mushroom trays, I soaked the seeds overnight and then put them on top of the potting soil, watered it, covered the tray with plastic for the first day or two and then watered only as needed. -Very easy child project.
I put to good use two pieces of scrap lattice that were given to me. Sometimes newly transplanted plants need to be sheltered a bit for at least a day depending on your plants and weather conditions. It can be helpful to provide these plants a little shade to help them transition to their new growing spot.
My lattice pieces are about 2 feet tall and 8 feet long. I put the lattice at an angle to shade the plants and used a stick to hold in place.
Here are a lot of heirloom lettuce plants that I transplanted out into the garden. It was unusually warm that day.
I wanted a little more green on the table for my Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Because it was early March, there wasn’t a lot to choose from growing outside. I did however; find moss growing in some spots around my house. So here are the inexpensive yet pretty moss teacups I made.
I used second-hand tea cups. I choose cups from our collection that were the most worn and would be the least likely to be used for drinking tea. I filled them with potting soil then I dug up a circular clump of moss. Moss doesn’t have deep roots like other plants so you don’t have to dig up much soil with the moss. I then arranged the moss on top and watered it. Be careful not to over water. Mist regularly!