Keep your indoor plants healthy and watered with this easy DIY self-watering system!
My Passion For Gardening
I haven’t been posting about it a lot, but I’m a passionate gardener. Now spring is getting closer, I get more and more excited about the new gardening season. Even though now it’s sure I’ll have to miss out on the start of it because of the major back surgery I have coming up at the end of this month.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help myself and started the season early, sowing some seeds inside and - once they had sprouted - putting the seedlings in the giant propagator I treated myself to.
The seedlings that grew to big and didn’t fit the propagator anymore, I put on the windowsill of a south-facing window, so they could enjoy all the sunlight they could get.
A Week Off
What I didn’t really think off, was that I would be leaving for France for a week this week.
I had found a sweet lady who wanted to take care of the cats, but I found it too much to ask her to also take care of my precious plants all week long.
The small plants in the propagator could go without watering for a week, but I had to come up with a solution to make sure the other ones didn’t dry out during the week.
Pretty last-minute I started searching online for an easy-to-apply DIY automated self-watering system that would do the trick. I found one and set it up, but since I hadn’t tested it out before, I was a little worried about how it would turn out.
When I arrived back home this morning, I didn’t have the slightest idea if my plants would have survived or not... pretty exciting I must say...
I couldn’t have been happier when I found out my super simple system had worked! My plants looked healthy and well-watered. They had survived the week, taking care of themselves. The experiment had been successful!
There had been no risk on overwatering or drying out, because with the system I had set up, the plants had been able to take the water they needed, at the time they needed it.
So simple, yet so effective...
DIY AuomatedSelf-Watering System
I guess by now you’re wondering what I just did to keep my precious plants alive.
Well, I’ll tell you.
You don’t need any advanced tools to set it up. All I used was:
A big bucket (or more than 1 if you have a lot of plants)
An old T-shirt, cut into long strings (if you don’t have an old T-shirt lying around, you can use something else. All you need to make sure of is that the material can absorb water.)
Something to make 1 side of the strings heavier so it will sink to the bottom of the bucket when it’s filled with water. (I used old buttons which I sowed to one end of each string)
Setting up the system
Before setting up the system, you need to make sure your plants are well-watered.
Fill the bucket with water.
Place the bucket on a higher level than your plants. You can use for example a stool that is higher than the table you will put your plants on. The idea is to make sure the water level in the bucket is above your plants.
Take your strings of T-shirt and plunge the heavy side in the bucket. Make sure they are heavy enough to sink to the bottom.
Gather your plants around the bucket. Make sure they’re on a lower level.
For each plant, take the other side of a string and put it in the soil, close to your plant’s roots.
- Make sure your string is going straight down. If it isn’t, it will not take the water absorbed from the soil up the string, and the system will not work.
- Wait for about an hour to make sure your system works. If it does, you should see the strings of T-shirt absorbing water from the soil of your plant at the bottom, and absorbing water from the bucket at the top.
From the moment your soils starts to get dryer, there will be less water going up the string, and more water going down the string. This way, the water from the bucket will be slowly transferred to the soil of your plants.
Tip: Test It Out Before You Leave
I had put this system in place just a couple of hours before I left. I have been lucky: the buckets I used were not empty when I returned, but it was a close one.
It’s not a bad idea to test how long a full bucket of water lasts. If it doesn’t last long enough, use more buckets and place fewer strings into each bucket.
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