Gardening Ideas forum: Article: Self-Watering Pots....A Fantastic Invention!

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Name: Dana
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
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bloominholes2fill
Sep 9, 2017 7:11 PM CST
Once I discovered self-watering pots, for my annuals, there was no turning back! The reason is that watering each and every day isn't my idea of a good time, especially when I was working and had small children! Some days, I was simply too pooped to water! Year after year, for 27 years, I've watched the neighbor across the street water her nursery bought hanging pots, with the bottom drainage holes, each and every evening, in the Summer! She has to, even for geraniums! Otherwise, they'll dry out before the soil gets soaked, and they'll droop if they're not watered every day! I always transplant the nursery grown hanging annuals in a self-watering pot, it only makes sense, and they are more attractive! I only use the kind with a drainage hole in the side of the pot, and if I find a pot with no drainage hole, I'll turn it into a self-watering pot myself by drilling a drainage hole in the side of the pot, allowing for a reservoir to build up and the excess water to exit when it's full! When the water starts draining from the side hole, that's when you know the soil is completely moistened, and clearly, it's time to stop watering. Easy peasy! It takes out *all* of the guess-work! Hurray!

The soil remains moist longer, while keeping a water reserve from which the roots can draw, eventually establishing a deep and healthy root system, and you don't have to water every single day! Keep in mind, though, to always water from the top! Those tube things make no sense, at least in my mind. Mother Nature waters from the top of the soil, so really, why reinvent the wheel?? Rolling my eyes. Rolling my eyes.

Think of it as a pot with a built-in saucer. The prefab ones include a spacer in the bottom of the pot, which holds the soil out of the reservoir. So create your own by first, drilling a half inch or so hole in the side of pots with no drainage hole, at about an inch or two from the bottom. It takes some patience, because plastic can buckle and crack, and the height really depends on the size of the pot. A huge patio or landscape size pot will need a deeper reservoir than the standard pot used for Summer annuals. Keep in mind that the bottom of the drilled hole makes for the top of the reservoir or water line. Next, fasten a small piece of window screen over the hole on the inside of the pot to aid in containing the soil. Then fill the bottom reservoir with stones up to, and level with, the top of the water line. Tip: I keep the plastic nets, that oranges come in, to fill with stones and tie them off to place in the bottom of the pot, so that when removing dead plants and soil, at the end of the growing season, your stone sack is reusable! It's a good idea to double up the netting for strength. Next, place a piece of landscape fabric over the stones, to further contain the soil and aid in filtering the soil out of the water, to keep the water more on the clear side for less mess, and finally, fill with soil and plant away! Smiling

Caveat: It's really up to you, but I only do this with plastic and easily drillable pots! As far as ceramic pots are concerned, if it doesn't have a drainage hole in the bottom, to use with a saucer, I don't buy it! Drilling ceramic isn't impossible, but it takes a ceramic drill bit and even more patience than really I have, vs. drilling plastic, and you risk cracking or breaking the entire, very expensive, pot! Additional caveat: Pots 6" and smaller aren't really conducive to turning in to self-watering pots because they just aren't deep enough. It's best to get small pots with a bottom drainage hole and a saucer! Just add a piece of window screen over the hole and add a layer of stones, with landscape fabric on top, before filling with soil in 6 inchers. Smaller pots aren't conducive to even one layer of stones in the bottom. Smiling

So, if you dislike watering your outdoor potted plants every day, try out making your own self watering pots, and you'll have a little more free time to play in the dirt! Hurray!
Happy Gardening, my Friends!! Smiling
"The grass is only greener where it's watered and fertilized." - Yours Truly
Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then you should ALWAYS be Batman! - Unknown
Dana
https://garden.org/blogs/view/...
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[Last edited by bloominholes2fill - Sep 22, 2017 10:12 AM (+)]
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Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Legalily
Sep 21, 2017 9:12 PM CST
Great idea Dana Hurray!
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Dana
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
Project Junkie & One Hit Wonder =P
Daylilies Butterflies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses
Region: Ohio Winter Sowing Composter Birds Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
bloominholes2fill
Sep 22, 2017 9:22 AM CST
Thank You! @Ginny
"The grass is only greener where it's watered and fertilized." - Yours Truly
Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then you should ALWAYS be Batman! - Unknown
Dana
https://garden.org/blogs/view/...
https://www.youtube.com/channe...
[Last edited by bloominholes2fill - Sep 22, 2017 9:27 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1553072 (3)
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Lilies
Garden Art Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Echinacea Region: United States of America Hostas Bulbs
Image
Legalily
Sep 22, 2017 9:39 AM CST
I have a bunch of the pots in my basement and actually forgot I had them until I ready this D'Oh! D'Oh! D'Oh! I also got the kids to make regular pots into self-watering! Next year Thumbs up Thumbs up
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