DIY Slow Release Watering: Making A Plastic Bottle Irrigator For Plants
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By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer
In the hot summer months, it’s important that we keep ourselves and our plants well hydrated. In the heat and sun, our bodies perspire to cool us down, and plants transpire in the midday heat too. Just as we rely on our water bottles throughout the day, plants can benefit from a slow release watering system as well. While you can go out and purchase some fancy irrigation systems, you can also recycle some of your own water bottles by making a plastic bottle irrigator. Continue reading to learn how to make a soda bottle drip feeder.
DIY Slow Release Watering
Slow release watering directly at the root zone helps a plant develop deep, vigorous roots, while replenishing the moisture aerial plant tissues lost to transpiration. It can also prevent many diseases that spread on the splashes of water. Crafty gardeners are always coming up with new ways to make DIY slow release watering systems. Whether made with PVC pipes, a five-gallon bucket, milk jugs, or soda bottles, the concept is pretty much the same. Through a series of small holes, water is slowly released to a plant’s roots from a water reservoir of some sort.
Soda bottle irrigation allows you to repurpose all your used soda or other beverage bottles, saving space in the recycling bin. When making a slow release soda bottle irrigation system, it is recommended that you use BPA-free bottles for edibles, such as vegetable and herb plants. For ornamentals, any bottle can be used. Be sure to thoroughly wash out the bottles before using them, as the sugars in soda and other beverages can attract unwanted pests to the garden.
Making a Plastic Bottle Irrigator for Plants
Making a plastic bottle irrigator is a pretty simple project. All you need is a plastic bottle, something to make small holes (such as a nail, ice pick, or small drill), and a sock or nylon (optional). You can use a 2-liter or 20-ounce soda bottle. The smaller bottles work better for container plants.
Punch 10-15 small holes all over the bottom half of the plastic bottle, including the bottom of the bottle. You can then place the plastic bottle in the sock or nylon. This prevents soil and roots from getting into the bottle and clogging up the holes.
The soda bottle irrigator is then planted in the garden or in a pot with its neck and lid opening above the soil level, next to a newly installed plant.
Thoroughly water the soil around the plant, then fill the plastic bottle irrigator with water. Some people find it is easiest to use a funnel to fill plastic bottle irrigators. The plastic bottle cap can be used to regulate the flow from the soda bottle irrigator. The tighter the cap is screwed on, the slower the water will seep out of the holes. To increase flow, partially unscrew the cap or remove it altogether. The cap also helps prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the plastic bottle and keeps soil out.
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Read more about Gardening Projects
Homemade Bottle Plant Spikes
Sure, you can buy a pretty water spike or wick for your plants. But you can also save yourself a few bucks and make your own using materials you likely already own. They're simple to make, and soon enough, you can insert the spikes into the soil and forget about watering your plants -- that is, until you have to refill the bottles.
Soda Bottle Drip Feeder
Looking for an easy way to be more water-conscious your home garden? Thanks to The Garden Glove for the idea and the picture above, we can all benefit from this genius idea that will save us time, but more importantly, water!
1. Liter or 2-liter bottle
2. Electric screwdriver
1. Gather your materials
2. Rinse your bottle thoroughly with water
3. Screw until a hole is punctured through
4. Repeat step 3 10-15 times
5. Test your bottle out in your garden. Click HERE to see what ours looked like in action!
After you have completed these steps you can strategically place the bottle(s) in your garden to provide water to your plants. dig a hole deep enough to bury the bottle, but leave the top opening sticking out so that you can easily pour water into the bottle. The holes in the bottle will slowly seep water in order to keep your plant healthy and hydrated!
Happy Gardening from JMG!
13 Comments . Leave new
It doesn’t take a really long time before the whole skip plugged up and don’t let the water out anymore. Someone had suggested partially filling the bottle with batting or with strips of T-shirts to keep it from filling with mud
Great idea! Thanks for the feedback.
Companies that make rain gardens cover long plastic piping with holes in it with a sock-like cover, so an old sock might do the job in this case. Do any of you use battery screwdrivers like the one shown on other projects? With kids?
We have used the battery screwdrivers with other projects, but we don’t recommend kids using these on their own…they should let the adults do this part.
In humid areas, may want to consider putting the srew-top on to avoid having a mosquito breeding site. It can always be removed to refill the bottle.
Good point to note! Thanks for the helpful feedback.
To keep out the soil, try making a sleeve for the bottle with a cut-off leg from an old pair of nylon hose.
That is a really good point!
Thanks for the feedback!
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I rapped a peace of garden fabric around mind to keep the holes free of dirt
Love, Love, Love all of this!! In Hot, Hot Texas and we need all the help we can get!! I wondered too if you filled the bottle with small pee gravel if this would help the bottle not to collapse while you are trying to barring the bottle in heavier soil. We have some rocky or clay soil here but our bushes can handle it, but still need water.
Very Interesting. Will be setting up my Bottle Drop Soon
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What is JMG?
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So now you are going to build the stand that sits inside of the pot of the plant that is going to
be watered. I like to build them in two peices. First I build the arm that sticks out. Look at the pictures
to see how it is assembled. Second I build the base. Again look at the pictures to see how
it fits together. Then I take the arm and snap it together to the base. Look
at the pictures to see how it fits together.
so now you are going to weave the tubing through the stand and out through the
tip of the arm. Look at the pictures to see the steps and how it goes through.