Ironically, a majority of the seedlings I had transferred to my friend's backyard died. The area I planted the seedlings in flooded, and the poor things were submerged under 3-inches of rainfall. Fortunately, the roma tomato, red bell pepper, bush bean and habanero I planted in her organic garden survived.
This system worked so well, I plan on using this system year-round. It is very simple to make, virtually free to create, and best of all I can literally go weeks without watering my garden!
DIY Container Watering System
- Large Plastic Ziploc Bag or Other Plastic Bag
- Empty Water Bottle with Cap
- Thumbtack (or some object that can puncture a water bottle)
- Duct Tape or Rubber Bands*
- Bamboo Stakes*
- Allow yourself at least one to two days prior to departure to setup and adjust your watering system.
- Water your plant(s) thoroughly.
- Take the thumbtack and stick it through the bottom of the empty water bottle to create a small hole. You can alternatively puncture the flimsier side wall, but make the hole near the bottom of the bottle. See Fig 2.
- Fill up the water bottle with water. At this point, you will see the water freely spilling out of the hole. See Fig 5. Replace the water bottle cap, and tighten the cap until the water is just slowly dripping out of the hole. See Fig 6.
- Place the water bottle right next to your plant. Mark the water level with a pen. See Fig 3.
- Create a tent over plant with the plastic bag. Make sure the plant leaves are not touching the plastic bag. If you are leaving your plants alone for a long time, make sure there is enough room at top to accommodate new plant growth. See Fig 4.
- Check and Adjust your System. Check on the plants the next day to see how much water was released. You will probably find that some bottles released water at faster rates than others. I tinkered with my system so that no more than an 1/8 of the water was absorbed a day. Adjust the release of water to your liking. You can loosen the cap to increase the water flow. Or you can tighten the cap to decrease water flow. The make-shift greenhouse (i.e., the plastic tent) will help conserve the moisture. See Photo.
Red Bell Pepper Seedling
(*) You can use bamboo stakes, duct tape or rubber bands to help create the tent. If you have a standard 6" terracotta pot and a small plant, then just use the large ziploc bags. The bag is stiff, sturdy, and fits snuggly over the lid of the pot.