This little Instructable is for people that have very small gardens in an urban setting perhaps, the sort of plot you might find in a CSA garden. The kind of garden that used to be called a kitchen garden.
For example, I'm growing pumpkins in a non-traditional garden. It's located on the embankment of a town road that runs by my home. It's convenient for me. I get my mail, weed, water and generally check on the progress of my pumpkins every day.
Traditional watering methods are geared towards having a ready and large supply of water. This ready availability isn't always the case anymore. I'm not going to drag a hose back and forth for twelve plants.
I've read that drip irrigation systems are better for the plants and better for the environment. With this in mind and my usual thrift (cheapness) I've designed a drip irrigation system that uses 100% recycled items and derives from power that I would be using anyway, my freezer.
If you think I've taken a bit long on the intro, not to worry. The "Instructable" its self is quick.
Step 1: Freeze the Water Filled Bottle
This is pretty simple. Freeze a one liter PET bottle of water. Be sure to leave a space for the water to expand as it freezes so it won't burst inside your freezer. Leave the label on or take it off.
Step 2: Preparing Other Items
Complexity isn't one of my problems 8-D. The chip bag doesn't recycle in my area and the Broccoli rubber band is epic in my house as they get used for everything. So, take the empty chip bag and slit it so that you have a flat sheet of mylar with advertising on one side and a plain silvery surface on the other. Wash any chip grease or debris off. It's easier to handle and you wont' attract any ants.
The Broccoli band needs no prep.
Step 3: Wrap the Bottle
Roll the bottle up in the Mylar and put the rubber band around the neck area to secure it to the bottle.
Additional note- if you have packing peanuts or thin sheets of plastic foam or other insulating product (I don't recommend fiberglas for this) you might want to wrap that around the bottle first. I'd squish the peanuts a bit so they are easier to handle. The insulating properties will make the ice last longer.
Step 4: Place the Bottle Next to the Plant(s) to Be Irrigated
Since my garden is on sloped land the angle wasn't an issue but if you are working on level dirt then you'll want to prop the bottom of the bottle up a bit so that more of the water can leak out to the plant.
Loosen the cap so the water can leak / drip out. This is the "Drip" in Drip Irrigation. It's a bit fiddley trying to get it to drip the way you are pleased with but once it's adjusted you can leave it alone for the day.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Success
It's tempting to stand there and watch it work so indulge for a while but remember, you've done this so that watering wont' be so time consuming and fruitless.
I tend to not plant in rows but in bunches. (It's that non-conformist streak in me sticking it to The Man).
One of the benefits is that using this planting system I can use one bottle to water several plants at once.
No, I didn't plan that, it just worked out that way. Bonus!
Step 6: Unexpected Bonus
This last image is late in the day and long after the ice had melted. I had watered the other plants with jugs of water in a traditional manner, trickle and splash in other words.
What the image is showing is that the dirt where the ice bottle drip irrigation was place is still damp compared to the traditional watering method.
I have placed no amendments in the dirt to enhance it's water retaining ability. It would appear that this system has the ability to continue keeping the dirt moist for the entire day. Yippee!
Step 7: Final Thoughts-
This is intended to use only re-cycleable items and this keeps it cheap and beneficial to most everything I can think of, your wallet, the environment, the plants etc.
Please don't think you can't substitute another product for one of mine- please change it up and make it yours-but if you could, please share your ideas with me/us.
Since this is made from what would be ordinarily rubbish there is a temptation to chuck it all when you are done. Please do your best to put the parts in the appropriate places.
Keep in mind that since these items do not degrade in our lifetime you could store them for the next growing season instead of tossing them out.