Experiment In Process

Another pin, another experiment.

I made these little sweeties, intending to give them as teacher gifts a couple of months ago.

They were cute all right, but alas, the plants did NOT like being in so little dirt. Good thing I made them a few weeks before I needed them, because in just two short weeks they looked pretty sad, just like the original Etsy seller warns: "As time passes your plant may start to look sad, when this happens you may want to gently remove the plant and soil and refresh with new soil and same plant; or give it a new life in the ground. Most important of all – enjoy your new little plant!" she says. 

Bingo. I dropped them all back into my "mother bowl" and started thinking.


At some point during all that thinking, I also started cleaning, which is when I found what might be the solution, hiding in one of my cabinets. 

Here's the process, so far. (I'll let you know how it goes.)


1. Choose a cork that's in good shape. I have a nice supply to choose from because Sweet Pea teaches at one of those "bring your own wine" painting places and brought me a variety of corks. A planter made from a cork left over from special dinner or winery visit would be awesome. (Note to self: Drink wine on vacation, ask for corks!)
I bet if you asked nicely, your nearest such establishment would share corks with you, too.

2. Choose a drill bit that will make a hole almost as big as the cork is round. Here's the one I chose.
Now, I used C's drill press (a gift from Mrs. Whiz) but a drill would work just fine. One of the advantages of the drill press is that it can be set so you don't drill too deep, so if you don't have one, go slowly and don't be  careful that you don't go too deep. Or else.


So, yeah. Even with a drill press, especially if you've forgotten how to set it since the last time you used it a couple months ago. (Sigh.) This kind of "clean-through" goof is even easier to do with a drill. So pay attention.

3. Center the bit on the cork, and drill slowly. Corks are capricious little things and random chunks can fly off if you try to go too fast, so take your time, and stop about half an inch before the bottom of the cork. Here you go:
Here's one that had less-than-perfect results, but I kind of like it anyway. (A drop of Gorilla Glue might help make sure it doesn't split.)


4. Plant your succulents. Start by putting a pinch of potting soil in the bottom.

5. Now it's time to add the potential "secret weapon." You ready?  It's Soil Moist!
            
 I know, I know. Let's all say, "Duh!" together!

If you don't know, Soil Moist granules swell with water and slowly release it back into the soil. 

I've used two kinds, two ways.
  • I have jasmine and lantana growing across the street by my mailbox thanks to the gardener's version. 
  • I've used the crafter's version to make neck cooler bands for soldiers and to give as gifts.

The bag I found peeking out of the mostly empty stickers box is the gardening type.


Now that you know, add CRUSH ONE granule. 
That's right. ONE, and better pick a pretty small one, too.


Here's why:


Big difference, huh? I even had about half the water left over and they still got that big. In fact, when it comes time to fill all the other corks I drilled today, I think I'll smash up the granules or something.  (You'll see why on the next post! I do tend to learn things the hard way, don't you?)

6. Layer dirt-granule-dirt-granule-dirt, then add your plant. Since all of my plants come from established pots, they bring a fair bit of their own soil, so I am careful not to overfill the cork.
I use my husbands smallest flat head screwdriver to gently poke the roots down into the cork as far as I can get them. You could probably use a skewer or something, as long as you push gently.

7. Add your super-strong magnet. I use E-6000 glue and let it dry overnight. Hot glue would probably work, too. I planted my succulents and watered them earlier today, so I let them dry out for a few hours before applying the glue. (That's my way of apologizing for the poor night time shots!)

And, since I noticed that Alissa Rose's corks don't seem to have these expensive little super magnets on them, I am trying one with just the plain old strip kind that you can get from Wal-Mart. It's too wet to hang, so I'll have to post a followup. 

Stay tuned, all 'round.



I love how this can be a very personal gift. Here's one I'm giving C for Father's Day for his office.

There's a plant for each child (our two teens, his grown son), and the cork has a duck on it. Not only does he love wild ducks, this particular cork is from a wine that's sort of an inside joke for the two of us.

It took just a few minutes to make since I had all the right tools, and it cost just pennies, since I already had all the materials. If you don't have all the stuff but want your very own cork planter magnet, Alissa Rose's Etsy shop's versions go for all of $3.00.

Read Part 2 of this experiment here. There's a part 3, and a part 4, too, if you're interested!

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