The Q&A Archives: Deep Watering Milk Jug

Question: I am trying to find information on someting called a "french well". It is a milk bottle or what have you
pieced with holes and buried along side a palnt so as to provide a slow additional source of water.
Can you help with with the specifics please?

Answer: Although I am not familiar with the term french well, I have seen the milk jugs used as in-ground watering devices. This is a home made and improvised tool, so there are no hard and fast rules. The plastic milk jug (or similar container)is buried about half way in the soil at planting time and left in place all season. The plant is set right next to it. The jug is filled with water periodically and the water is allowed to seep slowly into the ground. It provides a very slow and deep watering which is ideal for many plants including for example tomatoes. The trick is to poke enough tiny holes that the water will run out, but not so many that it runs out too fast. You also need to check occasionally to make sure the holes have not become clogged with soil. A larger version using a bucket can be used with newly planted trees or shrubs. The only caveat with this system is that the containers should be filled in the evening so that the water does not heat up excessively in the sun. You could certainly experiment and see what other plants it works well with.

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