self watering method

Oh no!

You forgot to water again this morning!

The pots of parsley and basil are wilting! The chives, so green and tall yesterday, are hanging their pretty purple heads. And you don’t even want to think about your poor flowers!

They are begging you to give them the one thing they need to survive in this sunny weather — water.

It’s not that you’re a black thumb gardener. You chose the best potting soil, selected strong healthy starter plants, picked out containers that gave them room to grow, and settled them in a sunny spot.

You’re simply often in a rush in the morning, and don’t have time to water all your container plants.

You need to find a foolproof method to keep them hydrated while you’re away, especially on those hot summer days.

Fortunately, there is an ingenious solution that will solve your problem.

Slow and Steady Keeps ’Em Alive

Watering your plants with a drip system is a great way to keep your plants alive while you’re at work or even on vacation. This kind of system delivers water directly to the soil and to your plant’s roots through a slow release system.

Efficient and controlled, this method delivers water directly to the soil, unlike overhead spraying with hoses or watering cans. No water is wasted with evaporation. The water is slowly fed to the soil around the roots where it encourages healthy growth of the root system.

Drip systems are easy to install without damaging or disturbing your plants. They can easily be moved and positioned where you need them.

And once you’ve installed them, very little work is necessary.

Try This Simple Homemade Solution

There are several ways to set up a simple drip watering for your containers. You may want to begin with a very simple method to water just a few individual containers.

Start with a clean recycled bottle — a 2-liter soda bottle is a good choice. For smaller plant pots, select a one-liter bottle. Remove the lid and drill 4 to 6 holes in the lid with a small drill bit. If the holes are too big, the water will flow out too fast; if they are too small, they may get clogged with soil. You could also use a small nail and hammer to make the holes.

Use a serrated knife or a hacksaw to cut away the bottom of the bottle. This makes it easy to refill the bottle without removing it from the soil. Screw the cap on tightly.

Dig a small hole deep enough to bury about a third of the bottle. Insert it, cap down, and pat the soil around it to hold it upright.

Pour water into the bottle, and presto — you have a slow drip feeder.

Make as many as you need, and remember to check each bottle daily to see if it needs refilling.

Save Even More Time With A One-Time Setup

But wait — you’ve got over twenty containers clustered on the patio!

That’s a lot of soda bottles and a lot of work. And all those bottles sticking up beside your plants really take away from the beauty you have been enjoying.

Surely there’s a better way to water that doesn’t take so much time.

A drip irrigation kit system is the answer you’re looking for. It’s efficient, easy to install and once installed, can be totally automated.

Start by purchasing a quality drip irrigation kit, one that is designed for the number of plant containers you have. The kits, available either online or at a home and garden supply outlet, come with everything you need to install a working drip system and start at less than $40.00.

These systems distribute water through a network of valves, tubing, and emitters, and are connected to a hose bib.

Begin the setup by snaking the quarter-inch tubing from plant to plant, and at each container insert a T-connector. The tubing is easily cut with sharp scissors or tin snips. A short piece of tubing attaches to an emitter, allowing water to drip out just where it’s needed.

To save both time and water, add a timer to the outlet and set it to allow the water to flow for about 15 minutes once a day. Depending on how well designed, installed, maintained, and operated it is, a drip irrigation system is efficient, time-saving and worry-free.

Never Worry About Your Plants Wilting Again

You can have a lush, healthy and well cared for container garden without taking a lot of time to water it every day.

Start with the basic method of setting up an individual drip system for each plant.

Then as time allows, consider installing the more elaborate self-watering system as a hassle-free way to all keep your potted plants watered when you’re at work during the day or away on vacation.

Not only will your plants thrive by getting the water they need, but you’ll also save precious gardening time. You will still need to make time to tend to and maintain your plants.

After all, part of the joy of growing container plants is enjoying the beauty of your flowering baskets, or being able to cut fresh herbs to spice up your meals. With a simple self-watering drip method, you’ll enjoy all the benefits with even less work than before.

Now sit back, and enjoy your beautiful, healthy and hydrated plants.

About the Author

Nicki is a dedicated gardener, a creative artist and a published author. Passionate about what she does, her gardening articles, books and paintings reveal her love of nature and the western Canadian scene. She loves sharing her container garden success with others to inspire their creativity.

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