Grow Apples or Tomatoes in Bottles
‘Impossible bottles’ are bottles containing things that appear too big to have been put in through the neck of the bottle, such as ships, decks of cards, or whole fruit (some liqueurs come in bottles with whole fruit in them).
Things like ships are actually put into the bottle in pieces or with hinged masts, and cards are rolled up and carefully rearranged with tweezers, but how does something like a real apple get in? Apple’s don’t come with hinges…
A fruit in a bottle is really impressive and is actually easier than it looks, because it begins with a fruit that is small enough to go through the bottle’s neck, and the plant does the rest of the work.
Try this with tomatoes, apples, pears or peaches – any fruit (yes, a tomato is a fruit) with a long enough stem that would look extraordinary in a bottle. If you have a big enough bottle, you could probably even try a marrow.
Before you start – make sure you ask permission of the person who owns the fruit trees or tomato plants.
Growing your FruitFind a glass or plastic bottle that is light enough to tie to the plant without damaging it, but big enough to hold a ripe fruit. A glass milk bottle or a plastic drinks bottle is probably about the right size.
Find a little, unripe fruit – it must be small enough to go through the neck of the bottle, and have a long enough stem. Gently push the fruit and stem down inside the bottle, and tie the bottle to a strong branch using cable ties, twist ties or string. Be careful that you don’t tie the ties too tightly around the branch, as all parts of the plant are still growing, but make sure that the bottle is secure.
The bottle will act as a mini-greenhouse, helping the fruit ripen more quickly. However, if it gets too hot and sunny, the fruit might get scorched or even start to cook, so make sure the bottle has a bit of shade.
It would probably be a good idea to do a few fruit in bottles, just in case the bottle gets blown away in a storm or the fruit gets too hot in the sun.
Then… just… wait!
Once it's RipeOnce the fruit is completely ripe, carefully snip the stem and untie the bottle, removing all ties from the plant. There you have it – a fruit in a bottle, to impress your friends and family.
Writing your Name on FruitAs well as growing fruit in a bottle, you can also write your name on tomatoes or red-skinned apples. Once the fruit is full size but is still green, cut out letters from plastic insulating tape and firmly but carefully (you don’t want any bruises) stick them onto the skin.
As the fruit ripens and the skin goes red, the skin underneath the tape, which is protected from the sun, will stay pale – great for birthday parties (but you can’t fall out with any friends, or make any new ones, as you need to plan ahead!)