Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Self-watering containers made super easy

The benefits of self-watering, or sub-irrigated, containers are significant. Not only for the low-maintenance factor, but because many vegetable plants are happiest with a constant source of moisture. The trick to a good design is ensuring that the plants’ roots are able to dip in for a drink, rather than be constantly soaking in it. Happy plants = highly productive plants.

Homegrown Evolution has some fantastic links and articles on how to make your own self-watering containers. We’re big fans of supporting them by buying their book – now going into it’s third printing – congratulations, Erik & Kelly!

For anyone averse to PVC: copper pipe, aluminum tubing, drinking water-safe garden hose and even bamboo are great alternatives to those pesky chemical-leaching plastics.

Robert Hyland, “Urban Greenscaper” and keeper of the Center for Urban Greenscaping blog has by far the easiest self-irrigating container designs: No power tools necessary – just stuff from a hardware store and your – or your neighbors’ – recycling bin. We met Robert at the Brooklyn Food Conference a few weeks ago, and his enthusiam for sharing his findings was intoxicating. He is determined to convince urban dwellers that everyone and anyone can grow their own food. He had a crowd at his table all day long. Our favorite design is the storage tote with party cups (or yogurt containers) planter:

You will need to poke holes in the two cups filled with potting mix, and the tote for an overflow, so maybe a power drill would come in handy. But, truth be told, my power drill crapped out on me and I’ve been using a hot soldering iron to melt holes, so whatever works, right?

I’ve continued to nurture my little urban experiment, and have now added sub-irrigated seltzer bottle planters to it. Next up is a five-gallon bucket version that will have to hang from a hook above the gutter garden.

Our good friend and HOMEGROWNer Michael posted a cool video where he makes a S.I.C. out of five-gallon buckets.

For those seeking a more hands-on experience – beyond buying the time-tested Earthbox – these designs are suitable for every level of DIY-ability.

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5 Responses to “Self-watering containers made super easy”

  1. […] In preparation for creating our container garden at Bonnaroo, we made a trip to Nashville Urban Harvest’s 1 1/2 acre farm in West Nashville. Farmers David Wells and Sarah Bellos had set aside some veggie seedlings for us earlier in the year (thanks guys!) and we were eager to get them into their self-watering containers. […]

  2. Niza de empleo , nuevo para mí. Voy a comenzar a utilizar estos inmediatamente!

  3. […] year was mostly about establishing our native and wildlife-friendly plants), especially those great self-irrigating pots (there is a lot of information out there on the web, both about buying SIPs and making your own, so […]

  4. I created an automatic plant-watering system you can build yourself for next-to-nothing. It is made largely from recycled soda bottles, but virtually any plastic-capped container that forms a watertight seal may be used. As proof I demonstrate the concept not just with standard-size cap soda bottles, but a mayonnaise and peanut butter container as well. The website is www dot kahnlandscaping dot com.

  5. Its such as you learn my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few % to power the message house a bit, however instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

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