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Made my own self-watering containers today

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by RaymondPeter, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. RaymondPeter

    RaymondPeter Simple Man

    I am fairly proud of my project today. I made DIY Self-watering Containers for a container garden here at my apartment.

    A little back story:

    I grew up on a small dairy farm where we always had a vegetable garden (still do in fact, although the farm is now grows crops and doesn't have dairy cattle). After moving 45 minutes away, I've kind of missed being able to do my own gardening.

    The cost of living v.s. pay around here sucks, so finding an apartment/duplex/house with a yard that I would be allowed to plant in is near impossible since they are way out of my price range. I've looked into container gardening for a few years but never really got into it. Too much work I thought, doesn't look right to a country boy like me, etc...

    Well this past August I got married and my wife and I have both been wanting to grow some of our own food here, and not having to drive out to the farm or anything like that if we wanted a fresh tomato. Well I was looking through some old magazines that I had; trying to get some inspiration.

    We had already decided on planting a container garden this year, but daily watering sucks, and the price of store bought self-watering containers is outrageous. I vaguely remembered glossing over an article about making your own once. Since I wasn't into container gardening it was placed into "I'll read this some other time" category. Also known as the "I remember seeing something about that, but I don't remember anything else about it" category.

    I never throw away articles that might be useful later though. So, I rummaged through my pile and found what I was looking for. I got the supplies, and built 10 containers today...

    Here is the web link to the article I used. Specifically the DIY plans for what I made start at the very bottom of page 3.

    To make things even less expensive here is what I did:

    1. Why should buy 5-gallon buckets when I can get them for free? I went to a restaurant that I used to work at and walked out with 20 5-gallon buckets and could have taken more if I had wanted.
    Price: FREE

    2. I live in an apartment so I keep very few tools here. They are all back home on the farm. So thinking about how I can cut and drill the holes needed I went to work. Work? YEP! I work at a hardware store (ACE is the place ;))and we have more than enough tools in back for what I needed.
    Price: FREE

    3. I don't know about you but I don't tend to have 10 plastic funnels laying around and any that I do have would have been used for not so good for you chemicals. While at work I took a look around. I went to our small kitchen area and bought what I needed. I could have gone to the automotive section but why buy expensive funnels when you are just going to cut them and bury them? The cheap "kitchen" ones work fine!
    Price: $1 per funnel, minus my 15% employee discount :thumbup: (add sales tax :angermanagement:)

    4. We sell potting soil, compost, etc at work. But why should I buy it when we have tons of bags that are torn and can't be sold? They just sit out back until a worker wants or needs them. I grabbed a few more than what I actually needed at this time but what the hell, I can always find a place for good soil!
    Price: FREE

    5. Plants/seeds... I haven't gotten any yet. It's too damned cold here still to plant! Once it warms up a touch more I will be getting plants and seeds from family members that have bought too much, have plants/seeds to share, as well as from seeds that I have saved myself.
    Price: FREE or very close to it

    While these are decent sized containers (20 quarts of soil per container) and for many plants a person won't need anything that large. So you could use smaller buckets OR try out another method.

    While searching on the Mother Earth News website I also found this article. I might try a few smaller plants with something like this. I'm not sure yet since they would have to be fairly small plants with shallow root systems. We'll see...
  2. RaymondPeter

    RaymondPeter Simple Man

  3. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

  4. overbore

    overbore Monkey++

    Speaking of water----
    I just ordered a Guzzler 500 manual pump as a back up means to draw water from a creek to a water barrel for our garden-just in case or when the lights go out.

    Laus Deo

  5. RaymondPeter

    RaymondPeter Simple Man

    The next set I'm building I won't be using the funnels. Instead I will be using the top of a 2-liter bottle. So add one more free item to the list! lol
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