If you've gardened for any length of time you've heard of this; however, I wanted to put my little twist on the idea.
Why I like it:
1) Most of my landscaping is on an automatic drip system, but I have a few plants in pots/planters that aren't. This allows me to check on their watering much less frequently.
2) You can go on a vacation and know your plants are being watered.
3) When using large pots, I tend to use the "throw away" pots upside down for filler so less soil is required. This is another object that will take up space.
4) It's underground so roots are directly watered. This is great for plants that develop leaf issues when they become wet from sprinklers.
5) With my little "twist" you can hide the whole thing. There will be no unsightly plastic bottle/cap to detract from your garden.
Step 1: The Bottle
This is really simple. Take an appropriate size plastic water/soda bottle and poke a bunch of holes in it. This gets buried along side your plant(s). Fill it with water and the water slowly escapes through the holes to quench your thirsty plant. The size and amount of holes you poke will dictate how often it will need to be filled.
NOTE: Where you are growing fruits/vegetables, you may want to use BPA free plastic bottles.
Step 2: The "Twist"
Okay, so it's only a little twist, but I think it makes a big difference. Because who wants to see a big plastic bottle along side their beautiful plants?
Mark the location of the cap with a little garden sign. The bottle/cap pictured was left above ground for the pic, but it can be entirely covered with soil and hidden just below the surface. Simply move a little soil away when you are ready to unscrew the cap, add water to the bottle, screw the cap on, then hide it with the soil again.
You can probably come up with your own method, but I make a sign with a small wood dowel and a paper printout identifying my plant. I drill a hole in the cap slightly smaller than the dowel. The plastic cap gives a little, so the larger object can be pushed through, making a tight grip. You could just stick a marker in the soil, but this little attached sign allows you to know exactly where your bottle is.