I’ll admit it. I have a teeny, tiny, itsty little fascination with self watering/sub-irrigation containers. Ok, so maybe it is a slight obsession. But I can’t help it!!! When I start a new project I always get so excited. It doesn’t help that making them also gives me a reason to break out my table saw and buy a set of hole saws!
In my excitement, I have come across several different versions. Using these tutorials, I have come up with my own DIY version (which I hope to post some time this week). Anyhow, here are some really great ideas for creating self watering/sub-irrigation/earthboxes.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept, the basic concept is that you place the water under the plants/dirt and provide a means for the plant/roots to draw water up as it needs it. Basically, you are watering the root system (This is make it less likely (but not impossible) to overwater your plants. Also, not having to constantly expose your leaves to watering is healthier and helps avoid disease.
Water your plants weekly instead of daily (depending on the size of the container)
Use less water
Less likely to over/under water your plants
Provide water directly to where the plants need them
I searched high and low for some simple containers for my herb garden. I looked at glass, clay, plastic, metal and everything in between. Not only did I want something that was functional, I wanted them to look nice and not cost a fortune. In the end, I ended up making my own out of empty water bottles.
Why did I pick these bottles?
Easy to drill holes in
Height of 9” gives the plants room to grow (7” was my minimum requirement)
I bought a plastic clamshell that was meant to hold long stem roses. I cut them in half to use as trays for my containers. The containers I picked had to be thin enough to fit inside them 4” wide clamshells
Easy to find
Modular. I can always add or remove containers as I need them.
1 water bottle per number of plants/desired containers
Drill or large needle
Painter’s or masking tape
Stone textured spray paint
Saw or scissors
Cost: Under $20
Drink the water
Fill the water bottle with the hottest tap water possible. This will assist with pulling off the label with minimum glue residue
Peel off the label
Using the drill, drill several holes in the bottle of the bottle for drainage. I drilled 3 medium sized holes. If you don’t have a drill and are using a needle, I would suggest 10-15 holes.
Using the saw of scissors, cut off the top of the water bottle, leaving 9” at the base. (TIP: if you are using scissors mark the cut line with tape)
Using the tape, mask off the areas that you would like to stay “clear”. I eyed it but you can use a level to make the design consistent.
Spray the exposed areas with the stone textured spray paint. Let the paint dry and repeat if necessary