DIY: Self-Watering Recycled Vase
This DIY will show you how to make a planter from nearly all recycled (and free) products which will pretty much water itself. Without giving them much attention, you can grow your own herbs, flowers, or other plants. You can continue to re-use the planter, or simply recycle it when you're finished. If you don't like the look of the plastic bottle on your windowsill, you can always cover a recycled tin with some decorative paper, and slip in the planter for a look that's more your style.
- 1 plastic soda bottle (2 or 3 liter)
- Newspaper, aluminum foil, or a bit of a black plastic bag
- A drill or hot wire (to make a hole in the bottle cap)
- Certified organic potting mix
- A sharp knife (to cut the bottle)
To learn the steps,
- Cut the bottle. Cut the empty soda bottle in two (the cup and the reservoir), so the bottom part is bigger than the top. When inverted (i.e. when the bottle neck is inside the bottle), there should be about 2" of clearance between the neck and base, so that wick can dangle in the water. Do some measuring ahead of time, and mark your bottle with a guide before you cut.
- Bore holes in the cap. Make one hole just large enough to thread the twine through, and several other smaller holes just for drainage.
- Assemble the wick. Cut three lengths of 15" of twine. Line up the lengths. Tie them together in a knot 3" up from one end. Then, thread those 3" of the lengths of twine through the hole that you bore in the cap, so the knot rests on the inside of the cap. Those lengths will dangle in the water, drawing water up into the soil from the reservoir to feed the plants.
- Line the interior of the cup. Since roots do better in darkness, you'll want to line the interior of the cup (where the dirt goes) with either newspaper, aluminum foil, or some black plastic bag. Newspaper is best (biodegradable), but just use what ever you have. Make it flush with the sides of the cup, putting it all the way in. Then, poke a hole in the bottom for the wick to come up.
- Setting the wick and add soil. Screw the cap onto the bottle neck, pull the wick up so it hangs over the edge of the bottle. Figure out how much soil you'll need to fill the cup. Add 1/3 of your soil to the cup, keeping the wicks running straight through the middle. Then, coil one of the lengths of twine on top of the soil, around the other 2 lengths in the middle. Add another 1/3 soil and repeat. Then, fill the cup with the rest of your soil, keeping the last length of twine running up the middle. Spreading these coils throughout will help to distribute the moisture better.
- Plant your seeds. Read this How-To for instructions.
- Add water. Add water to the reservoir, but don't let it touch the cap.
- Let it grow!