by Sharon Quercioli
The new year brings new goals and new projects. Many of us are taking on new ways to help the environment and make our carbon footprint just a little bit smaller. For some of us, that just means that we will be recycling more and producing less garbage. For others, that means that we will be trying to be more self-sufficient—making and planting our own food, for example.
For those of you who want to do a bit of gardening and planting to better your homestead, I’ve got just the thing for some of your smaller plants—a self-watering container. A few of these around your home should help you with chores in the morning.
What you’re going to need are two five-gallon buckets that are clean of everything, especially chemicals. Also, you will need a plastic funnel, saber saw and drill with a quarter-inch bit.
The first thing that you need to do is set one bucket inside the other. There will be some space at the bottom (in between the buckets) and that’s fine because that will be the reservoir. Now make an oblong hole on the outside bucket about an inch high and two inches long. The top of the hole should set even with the bottom of the inner bucket. This will be the overflow hole. You should be able to stick your finger in to see just how much water is in it.
Now cut a hole in the bottom of the inner bucket. It should be big enough to let the spout of the funnel to stick down into the bottom of the outer bucket. In addition to this hole, drill a handful of other holes into the bottom of the inner bucket as well. Make sure that it all fits by putting everything in place: the funnel into the hole of the inner bucket and the inner bucket into the outer bucket. Now fill the inner bucket with moist soil. The funnel should be filled as well but don’t pack it with soul. Fill the reservoir with water and voila! You’re ready to plant something!
You can grow a plethora of different types of plants in self-watering containers: flowering plants, herbs and even vegetables. While these instructions give you the means to use a five-gallon bucket, different sizes work for different types of plants. For example, radishes only need about 6 inches of soil underneath them. However, tomatoes need a container that can hold at least 5 gallons. Also, make sure that you consider the soil blends, fertilizing and possible trellises or supports.
Have you worked with self-watering containers before? What are your thoughts on them? What plants have you grown in them before? Do you have any ideas, questions, or thoughts on the topic? Let us know by jotting them down in the comment section below! We would love to hear from you!