Monday, December 17, 2012

Turn a Beloved Old Book Into an Herb Planter

Every avid reader has that one book that they refuse to get rid of.  

The binding has separated from the pages so many times that glue no longer serves to keep it together.  The pages are yellowed.  It has tears throughout.  You hate to admit it, and so you continue to keep it on your shelves, but it's at the end of its natural lifespan.

Heck, it's even at the end of its unnatural lifespan, when you consider all of the face lifts surgeries it has gone through in your attempt to keep it alive.

In my case, it was an Andre Norton novel that I had gotten from a Deleted Books bin at the library.

50+ year old book entitled Breed to Come by Andre Norton

It was in pretty bad condition from the moment I picked it up.  

I mean, there's a reason the library chose to delete it, after all!  Truth be told, it's not even one of my favorite books.  I love Andre Norton, granted, but this wasn't at the top of my Must-Read Norton list.  It just really, really had a great deal of sentimental value for me, for some unknown reason.

It had been stained by food, it had fallen in a (mostly empty) sink at one point, My daughter had chewed on it when she was a baby, and then my dog finished chewing the corners a few months later.

This book had truly experienced a hard life... so I couldn't just throw it out.

So what did I do?

I reused it and made it into something entirely different.  I gave it a second life, if you will.


I turned it into a planter.  Specifically, an herb planter.  I decided to use it to start some seeds, which is actually pretty simple.

  • Press some seeds into a piece of toilet paper.  Be sure they're spaced apart, according to the planting instructions.
  • Use a piece of tape to secure them to the toilet paper.

Tiny black seeds are evenly spaced within a toilet paper square, and kept in place using tape.

  • Place the toilet paper inside the book, between the pages somewhere near the center of the novel.  Glue or tape it onto a page.  Be sure the seeds are at the right depth for in ground planting -  the pages are acting as soil, after all.
  • Stand the book upright on top of some sort of drainage pan or tray, then water the book's pages, just as you would if it was a pot.
Andre Norton's Breed to Come is standing in a drainage pan made from the bottom of a milk jug.

After that, it's just a question of time.

In my case, I have the added surprise of "What am I growing???"  You see, I placed the seeds inside the book quite a while ago, but decided not to set up my herb planter.  Pouring water onto somebody else's creative genius isn't exactly easy for me, even if reading the book is no longer a viable option.

I waited until I had a long period of growing.... absolutely nothing.  

I have the mystery carrots still growing in my lettuce patch, but I really can't tend anything right now.  The ground (aside from those carrots) is frozen.  Now is the time to grow my... whatever.  

The seeds in the book are a total mystery.  

I think they're peppermint seeds.  The size is about right, but I honestly don't know for sure.  All I truly know is that this was going to be a perennial herb garden.  Something that will last.

Andre Norton is a brilliant author, and her books deserve more than a single life, I believe.  

I'm excited about giving this one that chance!

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