Picture of Self-watering bucket planter
Problems with container gardening include not enough root space and the difficulty of effective watering.  Top watering is slow and it is hard to get enough water into the container to satisfy the plant's needs.  The double bucket approach to container gardening provides more soil for roots than many containers provide and there is enough water available so that even tomatoes usually don't dry out during the day.   The PVC pipe delivers the water to the bottom of the container where the roots can more easily get at it.   
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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
Materials:     2- 5 gallon, nesting plastic buckets
                       2' x 1-1/2" PVC pipe  (diameter is up to you but a larger diameter is easier to fill)
                       1- 3/4" x 6 screw ( I use hex head)
                       1- yogurt cup (8 oz.)

Tools:            drill
                        hole saw (for yogurt cup)
                        hole saw (for PVC pipe)


Step 2: PVC fill tube

Picture of PVC fill tube
Nest the buckets and stand the PVC pipe vertically next to them.  At the rim of the upper bucket, mark the PVC pipe and cut to length.

Step 3: Drilling the inner bucket

Picture of Drilling the inner bucket
Remove the inner bucket and turn it upside down.  Using a drill-mounted hole saw or a reciprocating saw, cut a hole in the center of the bottom that is large enough for the yogurt cup but small enough so the cup is supported by its upper lip and will not fall through the hole.  

Again using a drill-mounted hole saw or a reciprocating saw, cut a hole large enough for the PVC pipe.  This hole is located near the side of the bucket.

Drill a few 1/4" holes in the bottom to let excess rainwater drain away from the roots.  

Step 4: Drilling the outer bucket

Picture of Drilling the outer bucket
Insert the inner bucket into the outer bucket and determine where the bottom is relative to the bottom of the outer bucket.  This is about 2"  up for my buckets.  Remove the inner buckets and drill four or five 1/4" holes around the perimeter of the bucket about 2" from the bottom.  These holes are to allow excess water to drain.
csherry2 years ago
did u put holes n the sides of the yogurt cup and if so how many?
dstoudt70 (author)  csherry2 years ago
Due to the height of the yogurt cup, I cut off the entire bottom using a hacksaw. You could just put three or four 1/4" holes in the bottom using a knife.
Browncoat3 years ago
You might try entering this in the Water Challenge.