Here is a quick and easy way to make a self-watering, sub irrigated planter out of a handful of things you can pick up locally in just a few minutes. Keep in mind this is my first attempt. I expect it to work well.
I believe this method will conserve your water usage as well as the time you spend watering your plants, giving you time to do other things such as growing a bigger garden. =) There is also a video tutorial of this I intend on posting soon. Check back to this page for and updated edit if it has yet to display.
All you need is:
- 1 five gallon bucket
- One 1 gallon milk jug
- 8 inches of 1″ PVC pipe
- Some strips of cloth
- The plant(s)
Let’s get started. The first thing I did was drill about a dozen and a half or so holes in the bottom of my five gallon bucket to promote proper drainage. I drilled a couple holes on the side as well for good measure. I used a quarter inch drill bit but it really doesn’t matter as long as the water can drain through easily enough. You don’t want to flood your plants.
I then took the milk jug and poked it full of as many holes as possible from the handle on up. Seeing as how is the milk container sits higher up the roots do not have to travel as far down to drink water. I also left the lower end of the milk container intact with no holes to leave enough of a reserve.
I also used a strip of cloth at the opening of the milk container to wick water around the soil. I had to cut a wider opening around the milk container and I also placed a nail in the base of the PVC pipe to keep it from slipping into the milk jug.
Keep in mind not to crowd the buckets. Listed below is a rough rule of thumb on how many plants can grow in each 5 gallon bucket.
1 Tomato, 1 Squash, 1 Eggplant, 2 Bell Peppers, 1 Cucumber, 3 Bush Beans, 4 Onions, 4 Lettuce, 4 Beets, 10 Radishes or 10 Carrots.
An excellent benefit to using buckets to grow your vegetables is that your garden can be moved, arranged and located anywhere at any time. When the growing season has ended simply compost the soil and stash the gravel and buckets away until the following spring. If you have a small land lot or only a patio or deck this is ideal.Enjoy and happy growing.
I do not know how well this method will work as it is my first attempt at self watering but I will keep you updated either way.