Make Your Own Self-Watering Container

Self-watering containers are great solutions for plants on a porch, deck, or other area that might not receive the gardening attention that they deserve and for gardeners that cannot keep to a watering schedule. There is a variety of self-watering containers available to purchase, but the choices in style, color and size can be somewhat limiting. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to create your own self-watering container. You can fashion your own using two five-gallon buckets or a storage bin. I detail what you will need and how to accomplish each kind.

Bucket Container
You Will Need:
A Drill with ¼ inch bit
Tin snips
2 Five gallon buckets
1 4-inch downspout or plastic drainage pipe

1. Use the drill to create a ring of ¼-inch holes around the raised ring on the outside, bottom of one bucket. Try to get the holes as close together as possible in order to help with the next step.
2. Use the tin snips to cut away pieces of the bucket that remain between the drilled hole and remove the resulting plastic disk.
3. Use the drill again to add ¼ inch holes at random intervals on the bottom of the same bucket. These holes will allow for airflow between the buckets.
4. Drill around a dozen holes into the downspout or plastic drainage pipe with the drill. This piece will serve as the spacer between buckets.
5. Place the piece of downspout in the bottom of the bucket that has not yet been modified. Center this piece carefully.
6. Place the modified bucket within the other, making sure that the piece of downspout matches with the circular hole you made in the bottom of the bucket.
7. Study the nested buckets in a significant light source so that you can see where the bottom in the inner bucket rests. Use the marker to ark where that bucket ends.
8. Draw an oval on the outer bucket with the top edge of the oval at the point where the inner bucket ends. The oval should measure around one inch high and two inches long. This will be where you can add water to the container when finished.
9. Use the drill and tin snip once more to outline and remove the marked oval of plastic, much like the process to remove the circle of plastic in the bottom of the inner bucket.
10. Separate the buckets and fill the centered pipe with moistened soil. This soil and space will be the wick that allows moisture to move into the soil of the inner bucket.
11. Replace the inner bucket and fill it with moist soil.
12. Plant your desired plants and fill the reservoir. Some of the plants that do very well in this size container include peppers, celery, eggplant, compact tomatoes, salad greens and carrots.

Storage Bin Container
You Will Need:
Measuring tape
Hacksaw or electric chop saw
A Drill with ¼ inch bit
Tin snips
Silicone caulk
2 Five gallon buckets
Plastic downspout or plastic drainage pipe
1 Storage bin with cover (The measurements here are for an 18-gallon size bin)

1. Cut a piece of downspout or drainage pipe into six five-inch pieces. These will become your spacers.
2. Drill around a dozen holes into two of the five-inch pieces of downspout.
3. Use one of the pieces of down spout to mark the height on the inside of the bucket. Make these marks on all four sides of the container.
4. Measure the size of the interior of the container at the five in mark.
5. Transfer these measurements to the lid and mark the distances. These will be your cutting lines so that the lid fits snugly into the bin at five inches. Be sure to account for any curvature or indentations in your bin, they come in many different shapes and configurations.
6. Use the tin spins to cut away the excess from the lid.
7. Position the six spacers in two even rows along the bottom of the bin, with the two drilled spaces on opposite corners.
8. Trace the two drilled spacers onto the lid and use the tin snips to cut holes in the lid that are slightly smaller than the inside dimensions of the spacers.
9. Place the six spacers into the bin, maintaining the same position as they had on the lid so that the snipped holes match up with the drilled spacers.
10. Mark and snip away a small hole on one side of the bin. The top edge of the hole should meet the lower edge of the trimmed lid when it is placed inside the bin. This will be the hole to fill the reservoir.
11. Apply caulk around the base of each spacer, to prevent them from shifting.
12. Fill the two drilled spacers with moist soil.
13. Insert the false bottom and make sure that it sits securely.
14. Place the container where you want it to stay then fill with moist soil.
15. Plant the desired fruits, vegetables or flowers.
16. Fill the reservoir and enjoy.

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