We all hear that there are tonnes and tonnes of plastic bottles heading for land fill but what about using them to make a greenhouse. It may sound a mad idea yet in Scotland the REAP trust that connects folk, work and place have worked with a number of schools around the country to build eco greenhouses.
The first task was to collect 1500 2ltr plastic bottles that were cleaned and the labels removed. The base of each one is then cut off and these can be used later as water wells for plant pots later. The children from the school then threaded the bottles on to either canes or hazel sticks to a height that fitted the pre made wooden frame.
The schools that have made the green houses are also building and planting their own vegetables for use in the school canteen where head teachers have noticed a 17% increase in uptake of school lunches. The children have seen where the food comes from and how it grows.
Working with the charity Garden Organics from Warwickshire many of the schools have gone organic and have been composting green waste from the canteen for use in the raised beds. The children have also been going home to encourage their parents and guardians to grow vegetables at home. Encouraged by the staff of the Food for Life Partnership pupils have been turning empty sections of their school play areas into vegetable and fruit gardens.
Even the smallest space can grow fresh vegetables using containers on windowsills, balconies, and even the roof (flat is best!). With more and more garden centres selling plug plants of vegetables it is an easy introduction to vegetable growing. For the adventurous, there is a new breed of dwarf fruit trees that can be planted up in containers producing a good crop of fruit by the second year.
Visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk/schools, www.reapscotland.org.uk, www.foodforlife.org.uk where you can download information, ideas and even order your seeds for this season. The way to build the eco greenhouse are at the REAP web site.