• Matt Suprunowicz

How to Make a Self-Watering Planter!


How can we ensure that our plants are getting the water they need throughout the day?


 

This Lesson Plan is part of the Crafts and Miscellaneous modules of SustainEd Farms' virtual programming.

Background

Does the COVID-19 outbreak have you feeling lazy? Are you strapped for time? Are you forgetting to water all of your plants every day? Despite any or all of these circumstances, do you want to ensure that your plants are getting the water they need? Well, look no further! In this lesson, we show you how to design your own self-watering planter to accommodate any of the habits you may be stuck in while assuring your plants stay healthy.


Learning Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Create a self-watering planter from common household items

  • Water plants efficiently

Directions

1. Gather your materials. You will need the following supplies:


empty container, preferably clear (ex. large plastic bottle, milk jug/carton) · cotton string (or other type of string or twine that absorbs water) · hammer and nail (if your container has a cap) · small rocks (if your container has no cap) · scissors and/or knife · water · soil · plants or seeds to be watered


2. Watch the following Youtube video to see a demonstration of how to make a self watering planter. Then, follow along with the remainder of the lesson by reading the steps below.


3. At the halfway point in your empty container, carefully use scissors or a knife to cut the container around its perimeter. Make a puncture hole with the knife, and then use scissors to cut all the way around the container.


4. Fill the bottom half of the container(s) to about ¾ of the total depth with water -- it will serve as the reservoir. The water level will vary depending on the size of your container and plant, but on average, you should expect to check the water level every week or so. For clear bottles, it will be easy to tell when they need to be refilled; for solid containers, it will be necessary to check on them more often.


For containers with a lid:


5. Use a hammer and nail to drill a hole through the center of the cap. Be vigilant to hammer correctly, use a hard surface for hammering, and watch for any body parts that may be in the way.


6. Invert the top half of the container, and place it on top and inside of the bottom half to use as a guide for cutting a length of string. The cotton string will serve as a “drip” system that delivers water from the reservoir to the plant. With your entire container in place, measure a length of string that reaches the halfway mark on the top half of the bottle (upwards from the surface), and make a cut with scissors. Use the first string to measure and cut 4 total strings of the same length. Remove the top half from the bottom half (temporarily).


7. Thread the 4 strings through the cap of the top half of the container. Using all 4 strings, tie a knot about halfway up the strings on the underside of the cap.


8. Fasten the cap onto the top half of the container, invert it, and place it onto the bottom half of the container (which contains the water). One half of the strings should float freely in the water, while the other half will sit in the soil above.


9. Fill the top half of the container about halfway with soil. Use more as you deem necessary.


10. Place your cuttings, starts, or seeds in the soil. Fill in with more soil as necessary.


11. Be sure to check back on your planter to see if the plant is getting enough water. Fill your water reservoir every week.


For containers with no lid:


5. Invert the top half of the container, and place it on top and inside of the bottom half to use as a guide for cutting a length of string. The cotton string will serve as a “drip” system that delivers water from the reservoir to the plant. With your entire container in place, measure a length of string that reaches the halfway mark on the top half of the bottle (upwards from the surface), and make a cut with scissors. Use the first string to measure and cut 4 total strings of the same length. Remove the top half from the bottom half (temporarily).


6. Pull the 4 strings through the hole in the top half of the container. Using all 4 strings, tie a knot about halfway up the strings.


7. Using small rocks (1-3 inches in diameter), fill the top half of the container about ⅓ of the way full. Try to keep the top half of the 4 strings centered in the fixture as you scatter the rocks. The rocks will anchor the top half of the 4 strings in place.


8. On top of the rocks, fill the top half of the container about halfway with soil. Use more as you deem necessary.


9. Place your cuttings, starts, or seeds in the soil. Fill in with more soil as necessary.


10. Be sure to check back on your planter to see if the plant is getting enough water. Fill your water reservoir every week.


Additional Resources:

Download the PDF version of this lesson plan:

How to Make a Self Watering Planter
.pdf
Download PDF • 605KB

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