Overwatering plants can be just as detrimental to their health as not giving them enough water. With a self-watering planter, gardeners can take the work and worry out of watering by allowing plants to get the hydration they need when they need it. Each container holds enough water to last one to two weeks. With the right container and instructions, gardeners can construct a self-watering planter as their next weekend project.
Gather supplies to build the planter
Gardeners may already have the basic tools required for constructing the planter, and the materials are easy and inexpensive to purchase. The most important choice is the container that plays home to the plants.
Choose a container
Plastic containers are easy to work with and durable, and they do not require a liner or extra protection against the elements. A 20-litre food-grade bucket works well as a small planter that fits three or four plants. A large 92-litre plastic storage container accommodates 10 or more plants. Gardeners must remember to get a container that comes with a lid.
Other necessary supplies
In addition to the large container, gardeners should also gather four 100 mm plastic plant pots, one 300 mm plastic plant pot, and a piece of PVC pipe taller than the planter. Gardeners should also have soil-less planting mix, organic soil, and fertiliser on hand to fill the planter.
Transform the container into a planter
Shoppers must prepare the container by cutting around the edge of the lid to remove the centre. They can then replace the lip of the lid on the container. From here, gardeners need to build an aeration shelf, construct the reservoir, and put all the elements together to prepare for planting.
Build the aeration shelf
Gardeners can use the cutout middle portion of the lid as the aeration shelf. They should start by placing the 300 mm pot in the centre of the shelf and tracing the circumference of the top of the pot. Next, they flip the pot over and trace the circumference of the bottom of the pot in the centre of the circle they just drew. Using a utility knife or shears, they must cut a circle that fits between the two traced circles. This ensures that the pot sits snugly in the shelf without falling through when placed in the hole. To finish, gardeners should drill multiple holes all over the shelf surface. In one of the corners, they should cut a hole the same diametre as the PVC pipe.
Construct the water storage area
Gardeners should measure the height of the small pots. On the side of the large container, they should drill holes about 25 mm shorter than the height of the pots. These serve as drainage holes to prevent overfilling. Next, they should place the four 100 mm pots upside down in each of the four corners of the container and place the aeration shelf on top of the small pots.
Add the wicking pot
Gardeners should prepare the 300 mm pot by drilling multiple holes in the sides and filling the pot with a soil-less potting mix, such as peat, until it is 25 mm from the top. They must wet this mixture thoroughly and then top the pot off with more soil-less potting material. They should position the pot in hole in the centre of the aeration shelf.
Install the fill tube
The final component is the fill tube, the length of PVC pipe that extends from the top of the planter to the reservoir. Gardeners should cut the bottom of the pipe at an angle to prevent it from getting blocked. They should slide it into position in the hole cut out previously.
Get ready for planting
Gardeners are now ready for planting. They should layer soil and fertiliser throughout the container until they reach the top, watering lightly and patting the surface to eliminate air pockets. They should avoid packing it too densely, as the roots need room to grow. Gardeners should add water to the fill tube until it begins to pour out of the drainage holes on the sides of the container.
How to buy planters on eBay
Find planters and other gardening supplies by shopping on eBay. Type a keyword phrase describing what you need into the main search box located on any site page. Use detailed keywords to find specific products or general keywords for a broad search. Compare listings to find items that match what you need and fit into your budget, filtering by price, item condition, and seller location. Building a self-watering planter ensures that you have healthy and vibrant plants without the hassle.