Creating a sub-irrigation planter at home can be accomplished by buying products found at any local convenience store.
An irrigation planter is a great way to grow crops in your own backyard with very efficient water usage.
This DIY project requires: 4 long milk jugs, 1 tall skinny bottle, 1 18-gallon bin, your choice of soil, and tools for making holes and cutting plastic.
Using 4 clean milk jugs, pierce small holes into one side of each. These holes will allow roots to grow through the milk jug reservoirs.
Using a pen or pencil, push through the holes you have created to help open them up a little more.
On another side of the milk jugs, cut a hole large enough so that the mouth of another milk jug will fit within it.
This can be easily done by creating a stencil by tracing one milk jug mouth, and using that stencil as a guide to cut a hole into each jug.
Creating these holes will allow the jugs to interlock, creating one big reservoir system.
On the side next to the large single hole, draw a slit as pictured above and cut it out.
This long slit will allow water to enter from the bottom the bin into the reservoir.
Another hole will have to be made in ONE milk jug to house a taller, skinnier water bottle.
Cut off the bottom of the tall skinny bottle to create a large opening on one side of the bottle (this side will later be exposed to the air when the reservoir is entirely assembled).
Insert the tall skinny bottle in the one milk jug with the hole, and once you confirm it fits tightly, attach the other milk jugs together through the large holes you had cut out earlier.
After the four milk jugs are attached together and the tall skinny bottle is in place, the structure should look like the picture above.
Do not worry about making sure the bottles fit air tight because the spaces will be sealed when the soil is added later on in the project.
Using a tool like a 1/2 inch drill bit, create overflow holes in the large 18 gallon tub.
Be sure to avoid putting these overflow holes too low, as this will defeat the purpose of having them.
As seen in the picture above, the three holes should be large enough to prevent any clogging.
The height of the holes should be about level with the positioning of your reservoir when you add soil into the bin, so consider this when making the holes.
These overflow holes allow excess water to be drained from the reservoir, and are esepcially useful during times of heavy rain when water levels exceed what can be retained.
Once you make the overflow holes in the bin, you can fill it with soil and put in the milk jug reservoir.
Adding the soil to this reservoir creates a porous barrier for water to fill the system from below. Excess water will then be released from the sides of the bin.
Be sure the position the reservoir so it is close to being level with the overflow holes you made earlier. usually you will want to have at least 1 inch of soil under the reservoir before you start adding more soil on top of it.
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Once you add in the reservoir, you can keep adding soil to the bin until only half of the tall skinny bottle is still exposed.
After following the steps above, this DIY reservoir is ready for planting.
You can grow a variety of crops in these planters, ranging from small peppers to larger melons. Depending on the size of the crops you plan to grow, you can increase or decrease the size of the bin.
If you are experiencing a dry perdiod, apply water to the reservoir by adding it directly into the open end of the bottle.
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