Yet Another Self Watering Container




I'm too lazy to garden properly and one of the problems I face is that my plants die because I don't water them enough. So I thought that a self watering container garden would work. If not, then it would just be something else to put on the not to do list.

As well, there is a problem with slugs and I'm hoping this might stop them. I tried planting beans last year in the garden but the slugs stripped the young leaves to the stem, over and over again, until the plant couldn't survive anymore.

This is my way of combating laziness and nature.

Step 1: Get the Dirt.

Need dirt after all and I don't drive. But I have recumbent trike that can carry about 70 kgs (150 lbs) on the back.

Uh, don't do this folks. It works but it's scary and definitely shortens the life of the trike.

Step 2: Materials

I bought ten large totes from the place I work but forgot to buy the lids which means I couldn't make self watering containers the way everyone else does with totes. So I had to find an alternative.

I did have a bunch of plant pots (for the reservoir) and plastic tubing (for the water pipes) though.

Step 3: The Water Pipe

The first thing is to cut the tubing high enough that you can pour water down it. The second step is to cut a bevel at the bottom of the tube so that water will flow out of it. If you don't do this and the bottom is flat, the water might not enter the reservoir. The third step is to drill a hole in the bottom of the flower pot. The tubing was 7/8" outside diameter which made for a nice fit after drilling the hole with a 7/8" spade bit.

Step 4: Fitting

The tube fits nicely in the pot and both of them fit well in the tote. The pot is lower than the edge of the tote so dirt can be put over everything.

The bottom of the tote isn't flat so water entering the reservoir will leak out underneath the pot (which it's supposed to do).

Step 5: Add Dirt!

Here it is, all finished. These are 64 litre totes and they took 50 litres of soil each. I could have added a little more to top up the the totes but wanted to see how this would work out first.

So far this is working out really well. I fill the totes part way through the tube (just a guestimate, probably a minute or two of water out of the hose) and sprinkle water on the top while I'm there.

Oh, there are no drain holes. Wanted to see if the plants would be okay without them and they seem to be.

The picture with all of the plants is to show you that they haven't been watered in over a week (it's also really hot!) and they are doing well. The water does wick up from the bottom. And no slug problem! Or letting them die because I didn't water them! Win-win!!!



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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    The work you did there is called Wicking Gardening a great way to conserve water for those who are in a drought like California :)


    4 years ago

    Not sure if it works with slugs but with snails it does use egg shells break them in fine pieces and spread them around plants it's good for plants and defends them against those snails and slings ..


    4 years ago

    Supposedly a small cup of beer dug into the soil attracts slugs away from your plants. Hope that helps.


    4 years ago

    Nice idea! Here's another idea: add a thin stick in the pipe with a float (maybe a cork) connected to the end in the reservoir. The stick will rise so you can see how much water is in there.