Step 13: Summary

Picture of Summary
These planters are simple to make and are made with recycled products that would normally be discarded. They can be decorated and given as gifts, made by children as projects or just left on a windowsill to grow fresh herbs or flowers.

The soil really does seem to stay moist longer than it does in a conventional flowerpot with regular watering. My favorite part is that the plants will grow with very little help or attention from me.

The fact that all the parts used (the bottle, the newspaper, the compost, rainwater) are all recycled or free and can be recycled again is what I like a lot. The planter can be used several times and can simply be tossed into a plastic recycling bin when finished.

I've made dozens of these and what I like the best is that I can grow miniature crops of herbs and flowers for literally the cost of the seeds and with little effort on my part.

Thanks again to bbullet and his instructable which originally inspired me on the basic design.

Have fun and happy gardening!
sail4free5 years ago
You can view my sub-irrigated instructable here:

Using the Google search feature with "sub-irrigated", my instructable was #3 . . . I think yours was #1! My thinking has evolved towards using a five gallon bucket for larger plants, but you could do the same thing on your smaller scale by removing the tapered neck of the clear bottle. Drill a small overflow hole at the desired maximum water height and fill with pea gravel to 1/2" above the overflow hole. This guarantees a crucial air gap between the potting mix and the water reservoir, so over-watering is impossible. Then a piece of Dupont's 15-year landscape fabric is used to keep roots from drowning in the reservoir. Then the bottle is filled with planting mix and is ready to plant. It's important to fully saturate the mix as you go -- any excess drains out the overflow. The bottle should be painted or shaded with a decorative cyclinder. I have ideas for auto-watering too so the water level remains constant. I hope to detail all this in my 2nd Instructable SOON but haven't put it together yet.
robinmaille5 years ago
 Excellent.  Clear, concise, complete.  Ideal instruction on the how and why.  There are some young children I will introduce to in-home planting with this idea.  Thank you.   Can you add water to the reservoir via that air hole you make if your watering 'can' had a fine enough nozzle?  Say, water pistol size?  
iPodGuy (author)  robinmaille5 years ago
Sure you could.
gizmogrl5 years ago
All I have to say is I am stoked to to try this.  Imagine all the applications: genius!
Kira536 years ago
This is a fantastic instructable. It was very clear. I made a different type of self watering planter with plastic milk cartons and I think this will work better. I especially like the idea of the newspaper "cup". That will make transplanting less traumatic for the plant. Thanks.
Whoa! This is awesome! Really, what a great thing for someone like me who forgets to water plants but loves to cook with fresh herbs! It would make a great gift too! Or a project for a workshop!
This is a great idea, and i love the little instructable guy! I do have a suggestion, a way to keep down the algae problem and you can decorate them too! Anyway you could wrap a piece of paper around the base it would block the light and be neat to look at. I would make it removable so you can check the water level or leave some space (don't wrap it all the way around) so you could see the level at all times. Good luck!
Dalpat7 years ago
This is a great idea.Surprising ,how the simple principle of wick lubrication in machines has been used to build a wick watering system.Iam going to make to day itself.
I'm going to try your instructable this morning. Thanks! First, I like that I can start seeds without needing a large amount of space for the typical planting tray, and second, I like that you provided just the right amount of detail, and I didn't need to read a novel to do this :)
RayMit7 years ago
Thank you for sharing this with us, I am going to make one this morning.
I'm going to try this with my children over spring break to start our plantings for this year. Thanks for the great idea!
MoonBeams7 years ago
Brilliant! Thanks for sharing :)
beansdaddy7 years ago
Amazing IDea! I cant wait to gather up my materials tomorrow morning and give this a try!! I love this instructable! Great