The watering system utilizes the empty wine bottle, cork, and a small piece of tubing. A hole is drilled into the cork to hold the tubing in place, and the bottle is inserted into the ground with the tube pointed downward to water the plant roots.
This Instructable focuses on how I modified the cork to fit easily in the bottle and hold the tube in place. I was able to build these using materials around the hose, with the only exception being one quick trip to the store to purchase a length of tubing. With a $1.39 (plus tax) expenditure, I was able to make four waterers, which computes to a total expenditure of less than 35 cents apiece.
Step 1: What Youâll Need:
• Wine bottles (emptied of their yummy original contents), rescued from the recycle bin;
• Cork from wine bottle (I used one of the newer rubberized corks with great success)
• ¼ inch O.D. soft copper tubing. I found a two-foot section for $1.39 at a local big-box home store: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202520516/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053;
• A spare block of 2 x 4 to make the cork clamp;
• A small piece of ¼ inch wooden dowel.
• Drill press or hand drill;
• 7/8” spade drill bit and a 7/32” regular drill bit;
• Sandpaper (I used 150 grit);
• Tube cutter;
• Chop saw or table saw (used because they were available, hand saws would also work);
• Pencil and straightedge;
• Handscrew clamp.
Step 2: Step 1: Build Cork Clamp.
First, I cut off a piece of the 2 x 4, approximately two inches long. I drew a pencil line down the center of the wood block. I then set up my drill press with the 7/8” spade bit and drilled a hole in the block, with the center of the bit aimed at the pencil line. I then cut the block along the pencil line. I placed a cork in the hole, and placed the two wood pieces and cork in the handscrew clamp. The saw blade kerf allows for enough room to create sufficient clamping pressure to hold the cork in place without deforming it.
If I were using a circular saw or handsaw for building the clamp, I would have done this on a longer piece of 2 x 4, and cut it off at the end of the procedure. The extra length of 2 x 4 would allow a place to hold it or clamp it to a workbench while keeping my fingers away from saw blades and drill bits.
Step 3: Step 2: Cork Modification.
Optional: Cork tapering.
My attempts at dry-fitting the rubber corks into the wine bottles showed that this is a bit of a challenge. The corks are wider than the bottle opening and do not compress easily. I decided to taper the cork at one end so it would fit easier into the bottle.
To do this, I placed the ¼” wooden dowel into the cork hole and installed the cork and dowel in my drill press chuck. I then sanded the bottom edge of the cork to give it the contour I want using a strip of 150 grit sandpaper.
In doing so, I discovered that the rubber corks consist of a hard rubber exterior, with a spongy interior. The sanding operation leaves some small gouges in the softer rubber. While not good for wine, this should not pose much of an issue for the plants.
This step requires that the hole be placed as close to the center of the cork as possible. A few attempts to sand off-center corks resulted in substantially lob-sided corks not worthy of a photograph.
Step 4: Step 3: Tube Cutting.
Step 5: Step 4: Final Assembly.
Unfortunately, since the first snow of Michigan hit approximately 48 hours before I built my first wine bottle plant waterer, I wasn’t able to fully validate the concept. Let me know how yours turns out!