I worked on my apartment garden a bit more yesterday, and I made some bigger self-watering containers to hold smaller stuff like herbs for the kitchen (obviously, this will not work for tomatoes or eggplants or pumpkins).
Like I said, I’m not very good at remembering to water plants (or remembering not to overwater plants), so self-watering containers are pretty much my ideal. Cotton strings (only use cotton, btw, synthetics don’t have the same wicking action) act as training-wheel roots, drawing water from the reservoir in the bottom half of the milk jug and distributing it evenly around the top half; all the forgetful gardener has to remember to do is occasionally make sure the reservoir isn’t out of water.
I thought I’d try to illustrate the process of making these supremely useful and almost-free self-watering pots out of old milk jugs with pictures rather than words. Show, don’t tell! OK, here we go:
(Oops, some words are needed here. The strings don’t wick up water very well if they’re dry, so you need to soak them for a few minutes. Also, I forgot one step – tie a knot in each string a couple inches from the end so they don’t work their way down.)
Curl the strings over so they cover different levels and areas of the pot as you fill it up with dirt. This will make sure the water is evenly distributed.
I forgot another step: cover the seed holes with more dirt (it’ll say on the seed packet how much dirt) and water it a little more.
So yeah, those two times you water it from the top are going to be the only times you ever water it from the top. All you have to do now is just put it in a sunny place and make sure the bottom half of the milk jug isn’t empty and you’re golden!
Adapted from this Instructables