Tag Archives: Garden

Garden Day, Day 126

If you took a look the container that I planted my carrots in, you would swear that I just emptied the entire packet of seeds in. That means it’s time to thin them out. I’ve been thinning and giving the baby carrots to my friend for her turtle.


Garden, Day 87


Things are much better in my garden these days. It helps that some of the seedlings were replace with plants that I purchased (Veggie plants were only $.76 at the local nursery). All the rain and the heat from this weekend did wonders for my plants. I was even able to collect a couple of gallons of rain water.

Here are some pictures.

Trust the System!!!!

Great news!! my plants are coming back. My magical trick? I stopped watering them.

Yes, it appears that I was overwatering. I stopped watering for several days to allow the soil to dry out.  I picked off the dead leave and left it alone for a couple of days. After that, I  watered from the bottom like I was supposed to be doing. I can’t explain why I spent all that time making these self-watering containers and then watering them like normal.

The moral of the story, trust the system!!

A brown thumb

So my greeen thumb is not so green. So in an effect to save my plants, I am posting this question on a couple sites in hopes that I get some help. Wish me luck!!




I finally moved my plants outside and some of the leaves are turning brown.  The very same plants in the peat pots are doing just fine. Any clue as to what it could be?

Am I overwatering? Underwatering?

Not enough sun? Too much sun?

They are a ton of bugs in the pot (in the dirt). When I described them to the guy at the garden center he said that they were harmless “fungus gnats”. Could they actually be a problem?

Just as an FYI, the plants are all in containers. I used Miracle Grow Garden Mix for the soil.

Here are some pictures.


Tutorial: DIY Earthbox in a 5 Gallon Bucket

 Here is my version of a subirrigation/Earthbox. To learn more about the benefits of this type of plant watering system, check out this link https://paperchaise.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/d-i-y-sub-irrigation/


  • 1 – 5 Gallon bucket
  • 1 – 12×12 vinyl tile, cut to the diameter of the container.
  • 1 – 24″ x 24″ piece of mesh
  • 3  –  3″ pieces of  PVC pipe (or small plastic containers). I used both 1.5″ and 2″ PVC
  • 1 – knee -hi stocking


  • Drill and drill bits
  • Saw (optional)
  • Hole saw drill bit


 Prep Work:

1) Cut the PVC to 3″ pieces. If you don’t have a saw, ask if they can cut it for you at your home improvement store

2) Drill several holes into what will be the bottom of the PVC (see picture below)Photo_050609_004

3) Cut the vinyl tile into a circle. The diameter of the circle will need to be slighter smaller than the inside of the container. In order to get the correct size, I placed the tile on the container and traced around. I cut just inside (1/4″-1/2″) that line

(see pciture below)


4) Cut a circular hole into the vinyl tile slightly smaller than the diameter of the PVC. To accomplish this, I traced around the pvc and cut just inside the circle (1/8″)

5) Punch a dozen or so small holes in the vinyl tile  to allow for the humidity of the water to have contact with the soil

6) Drill a small hole (1″) into the side of the container, making sure the hole is below the 3″ mark (or below the level of the dirt) . This hole was serve as an overflow valve and a place to add water






 1) Place PVC  inside of the mesh. Make sure that the holes in the PVC are at the bottom


 2) Gather the mesh together and thread it thru the hole in the vinyl tile. This mesh covered PVC will serve as your wick. As water enters the hole on the side of  the bucket, it will come into contact with the soil in the PVC (via the uneven bottom and holes on the sides) and will be sucked up by the soil and roots.


 3) Even out the mesh, ensuring that the PVC is visible


 4) Place the knee-hi stocking over the mesh covered PVC (not pictured) . The knee-hi will act as a safe-guard against soil erosion


 5) Place the 2 other pieces of PVC inside the container


 6) Place the vinyl tile, pvc side down, into the container.

7) Add soil, making sure to press the soil into the PVC. Make sure you are using Potting Mix, not garden soil.


 8) Continue filing with potting soil


D.I.Y. Sub-Irrigation

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
  • No concerns about weeds, soil quality and insects










Tutorial: Herb Vases

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
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to find
  • Modular. I can always add or remove containers as I need them.
  • Modern



  • 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
  • Level (optional)

Cost: Under $20



  1. Drink the water
  2. Fill the water bottle with the hottest tap water possible. This will assist with pulling off the label with minimum glue residue
  3. Peel off the label
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
  6. 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.
  7. Spray the exposed areas with the stone textured spray paint. Let the paint dry and repeat if necessary
  8. Remove the tape.
  9. Fill with dirt, plant your herbs, and enjoy!


Original Bottle
Original Bottle
Taped off before spraying
Taped off before spraying