All major cities have had problems with air quality, and London is not exception. This has been an issue for hundreds of years. There was an anecdote I remember hearing about Joseph Bazalgette introducing sycamore trees to the streets of London. Their barks shed and it was thought they absorbed soot and other things (pollutants) from the air.
So since I’ve introduced a laser cutter or engraver into the workshop, I’ve just become a little more conscious that when I use it I am producing fumes. The reality is that when you work with certain woods or you use solvents and paints, you are releasing volatile chemicals into the air. Now a way to deal with that is by using plants. There was a clean air study done by Nasa and this has been repeated with a much larger range of plants, and that information available on line. I’me going to link to a couple resources in the description, just to give you a bit more information about that. And I’m going to use that tradition, that tradition that has never seemed to work because of our addiction to fossil fuels in the confined space of my workshop.
So I’ve got three different plants. I’ve got Spider Plant. I’ve got Red Edged Dracaena, and I’ve got the ubiquitous Peace Lily. This is actually quite an amazing plant because it on the check list it seems to just tick every single box, so I’ve just going to read out at least what’s on this wikipedia page that summarises the research.
Peace Lily benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene, ammonia, trichloroethylene – so this one does particular well. I’ve also got a cutting from another spider plant here, and this one is a little bit different from the one over there. This is quite a broad leaf variety and these three just came from a garden centre, but this one here has got a little bit of a story. It was a plant that my granddad was growing probably in the seventies I imagine, and then my mum began to grow from a cutting, then she gave it to a friend. And I think both my granddad and my mum got rid of their plants and now it’s come back to me (from her friend). So the spider plant is good for Formaldehyde , Xylene and Toluene. And the Red Edged Dracaena is good for everything apart from Ammonia.
So what I’ve done already just to explain what’s going on is because I’m not a sissy I went out and smashed some rocks. It’s always good to have a few to put at the bottom of the pot to help with drainage. I popped to the shops as well and bought some trays. And then every single vessel or pot that I’m going to use to plant these out, I gave them a good wash. It’s kinda good practice. Plants get sick just like we do, so if you keep things clean there’s a good chance you can reduce the likelihood of that. This one here actually had a very weird alcoholic milk drink that Nathan had made, and it really stank, and we left it outside so I gave that a really good clean. But it’s a nice jar and providing I can drill a hole in it, I can use it with the spider plant. So the first thing I’m going to do is drill a hole and I’m using this drill bit because the end is carbide. I’m just going to lube it up with a bit of washing up liquid.
Well I managed to break it. I tried to drill another hole in it and err, oh well. That was a waste of twenty minutes. I’ve just got another pot. It’s a shame I can’t use the glass but it broke – shit happens. If you don’t really know much about potting you start with some rubble so I’ll throw a load of this stuff in – a couple inches. And this just helps with drainage, and into this I’m just going to put some general purpose compost. And depending on the type of plants that you’re growing you might want to mix in a bit of sand or god knows what but I think this will be fine for what I’m doing.The root system looks good. Get a bit more in there. Just giving them a bit of a squeeze to help them break out a bit.
You might be thinking why I’ve got caulking nozzles here but I’ll explain in a bit. Spider plant really doesn’t need rooting gel but I’m going to put some on anyway.
Wow that stuff stinks.
Ok so the reason I have these caulking nozzles here is I’m going to use them as drip feed spikes with a bottle. I bought this one with a decorators caulk out of curiosity whether it would fit, and unfortunately it doesn’t. It would have been a bit too perfect if this could screw on. But possible I could modify this but then they also happen to sell these packet of slightly smaller ones. The hole at the end feel a little bit too large but I could always screw this on relatively tight and then drill a hole and hot glue this onto the lid. And this should then allow me to place the bottle into the soil, and the content of the bottle will slowly seep into the soil through some kind of capillary action. Because I’m not in the workshop every day, I do have a job and you’d be surprised how few days I do here to produce the videos you watch. And I don’t want to leave this up to anyone else to have to have to worry about watering them. I think this should work.Anyway I’m just going to do this.
I really like these bottles. They are for an aloe vera drink you normally get from the foreign food section in the supermarket. The drink is nice but the bottle is better. Along with it looking like it’s come from the future, you’ve got this notches which would probably make a good indicator for how much water has gone through the nozzle. So so I’ve just put a – someone doing some work – so I’ve just put a 0.5mm bit. I’m just going to shove this here. So I actually went and bought a seven day a week timer plug which I could program, and what I’m going to attach to this is my fan, and it’s just going to circulate some air so the plants are actually filtering the content of the room as oppose to the area they are in. I need to get some more bottles, and I really do like these ones so I’m going to get that – I might actually get that larger because I think they do a 2ltr variety. This one I’ve left for two hours and it’s gone down about 2 cm so every hour about 1 cm of water is container drips into the plant pot. The soil is definitely damp and nothing has come out from the bottom yet, so that’s a good sign. I think I could get away with drilling a smaller hole.
So by having plants which are capable of filtering chemicals out of the air, in combination with a fan which circulates air, set on a timer I am hoping this will improve the quality the crap I breath in next to a couple roads, and a building site.