Picture of Self Watering Mini Garden
Building on the idea of the self watering plant pots (there are several instructables) I've built a bigger version, using IKEA boxes.
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Step 1: Get all the Tools / Materials

Picture of Get all the Tools / Materials
Get some boxes. I used "Samla" boxes from IKEA because they are cheap, available in different sizes and you don't have to buy the lid (which we don't need).

You will also need some string, scissors, and your trusty Swiss Army knife. (Since you are on the instructables website I think it is save to assume you have one)

Step 2: Prepare the Boxes

Picture of Prepare the Boxes
Drill some holes in the bottom in one (!) of the two boxes and thread the string through. I tied some knots to make sure they don't fall out of the bottom while I assemble everything.

Step 3: Fill the Box with Earth

Picture of Fill the Box with Earth
Now about 1/3 of the box with earth an pull the strings up a bit. (so they are not just at the bottom of the box)

Now fill the rest of the box with earth.

Step 4: Plant your stuff

Picture of Plant your stuff
Now it's time to plant whatever you want to plant in your box. I started with some peppermint and some basil which I had grown in some self watering pots made out of PET-bottles.

Put the box with earth in the other box (which we haven't touched until now).
Don't forget to water everything and fill the lower box with water. But don't overdo it! The upper box should not touch the water. (Using the Samla boxes I can put approx. 1 liter of water into the lower box.)

Step 5: Wait...

Picture of Wait...
Now wait and enjoy your little garden. This is a picture of mine after about a month. Everything has grown beautifully!

Please note that the basil was a lot bigger the day before I took this picture. But I had used a lot of in my pasta sauce. :-)

Some tips from experience:
- Drill some holes in the lower box just underneath the point where the top box ends. This way you don't have to worry about overfilling the lower box (accidentally of if there are heavy showers)
- The one liter reservoir lasts for about 2 days of intense sunshine. (but that's here in Switzerland This may vary in other climates)
shayes9766 years ago
not all string has ability to wick liquids. if it's untreated natural fibers or blends yes. But many are easily melted, meaning plastic which cannot absorb with the same rate , for the quality of your plants water schedule. you should be more specific. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE WATER IN THE BOTTOM TO REACH THE MIDDLE OF THE DIRT LEVEL? IS IT CONSISTANT? or does it depend on the temperature of the room ie climate? if i make this and in a smaller scale like to a set of big 64oz. 711 cups stacked. would it still work? or do I need to bring the strings to the surface of the dirt? so far my problems with growing plants i want to use when i cook, is in chicago is it all has to be indoors.
You can also use strips of an old 100% cotton t-shirt. Just use a pencil to poke it through the holes, and tie a loose knot at one end of the cloth. .. Seeing as you use cups, perhaps you should check out container gardening, using 2 liter bottles, same concept, more specialized to your needs though. Check this out :)

You shouldn't have to worry too much about how fast or how consistent the water will draw in, soil, being soil along with the cloth or string will absorb all over. Just keep an eye on the water level. Soil should be moist, enough to briefly stick to your fingers, and easily fall off.