Saturday, 23 February 2013

Self watering planters and planting tomatoes

Regular readers of this blog will remember a post a few weeks ago where I highlighted a fantastic idea from another blogger about making Self Watering Planters.

That is the link to the other blog.

Anyway, I have been saving two litre bottles for a couple of weeks and finally got the chance today to give it a go.

The first thing to say is, while I had collected enough bottles when I sat down to start making these I found I did not have any suitable wicking thread. Suffice to say now my work Doc Maertins now have no laces in them. Ooops.

Anyway, let's get to the pictures of my attempt at Self Watering Planters

My little collection of empty two litre bottles ready for preparation. First thing I did was take the labels off.

Just about to cut the first bottle in half. Actually, if you pay attention, though, this picture and one other was taken when I was preparing the second bottle. The clue is in the colour of the lid.

The cut in half bottle set out how it will eventually be when it is put together. I used the stanley knife for cutting the bottles in half, though this did prove a little difficult to cut in a straight line.

The next instruction was to use a phillips screwdriver to hammer a hole through the lid. This was very easy to do but did highlight a large difference between suppliers; the yellow lid is far better made than the blue.

A lid with a hole hammered into it.

Another little tip; I found that the hole from the screwdriver was not large enough when trying to thread the wick through the hole. I ended up using the stanley knife to make the hole larger and allow my thick shoe lace through.

The wick is made from shoe lace, about 18" long, folded in half and then a loop knotted into it about a third of the way from the folded end.

The two loose tails are threaded through the bottle top so that the knot is inside the lid and the loop will protrude into the bottle when it is put back on.

The bottle top is screwed back on and then the bottles are arranged thus, leaving the wick dangling into the water reservoir and the loop protruding up into where the soil will be.

A single Gardeners Delight tomato seed set on the palm of my hands before planting.

The Self Watering Planter filled with compost and with a Gardeners Delight seed planted.

I then watered the compost fully, and filled the reservoir with water so the tail is fully into the water.

Two Moneymaker tomato seeds in the palm of my hands.

The two planters which contain Moneymaker seeds set on the windowsill.

A word of warning (and a potential "ooops" moment for me). If you look closely at that last photograph you will see the compost on the right looks very wet; that is because it is SODDEN as I slipped slightly and poured WAY too much water into it. I am hoping that it will dry out and the seed will still germinate. Fingers crossed.

So there you are, my attempt at the Self Water Planters. I will of course keep you all updated on any and all progress with these. Please do try this yourself and give me any results that you get.

A final tip from a mate; he suggests that you paint the reservoir green as this will prevent algae from growing in the water; I am going to test this out on two of my efforts to see what difference it makes but I do not have any green paint for plastic at the moment.

Anyway, enjoy your weekend and keep growing!


  1. Good idea but you used a nylon lace, it wont absorb the water up to the plant.