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This Meetup is cancelled

Building "self-watering­" gardening containers.

  • Dave's

    1960 Aletha Ln #3, Vacaville, CA (map)

    38.336857 -121.972366

  • I am in the process of moving and I am just not prepared to do this anytime soon. I moved the date to 2014, but that is just a place holder.


    "Self-watering" is a misnomer. What I am talking about is a gardening container with a built in reservoir. This is especially helpful for those hot dry Vacaville summers. I did a couple this past winter, and those plants did much better than my normal container plants. You can also use them indoors, and they are very helpful if you forget to water your poor, poor plants once in a while like me. Shame on me!

    First, you might want to look at this to get the idea. Although there are simpler designs, this will get you in the ballpark, or should I say in the garden, ha, ha:

    You will need to bring:
    1) Your own container to plant in. Anything from 1 to 20 gallons depending what you are planting. I say a 5 gallon bucket is good for one tomato plant. You can get cheap beer/soda coolers at the Opportunity House thrift store in Vacaville for $3-$5, or the plastic 20 gal tub they sell at Target for $5-$7 or a 5 gal bucket laying around the house is great too as long as it wasn't filled with chemicals. I prefer to go as cheap or free as I can.

    2) Something to keep the water and the soil mostly separate. It could be the lid of the big container that we will drill holes into, or smaller containers for the reservoir. I use a few one gallon jugs for the reservoir inside my 20 gallon tub from Target, and a bowl sized piece of old Tupperware inside my 1-2 gallon container. You can use 2-liter soda bottles, or the 1 gal plastic rectangular water containers/jugs work great. The idea is you will want to line the bottom of your big container with the smaller ones, which will take up approximately 1/4 of the volume. The soil sits on top of the smaller containers. The small containers hold water but keep most of the dirt and the roots of the plants out of the water. The more you bring the more options you have, but PLEASE don't spend a lot of money on these :)

    3) A plastic tube that is roughly 2-3 inches in diameter or I use a few old 16.9oz plastic water bottles that I cut the bottoms off and duct tape together. This "tube" will be used to get water from top of the dirt down into the reservoir.

    4) Duct tape. (I will have extra if you forget).

    5) A portable drill, optional, if you have one. We want to drill holes, NOT on the bottom, but on the side a few inches up from the bottom, level with the inner containers.

    6) NO need to bring dirt/topsoil, no sense in dragging 50 pounds of dirt around. Fill them up with dirt and plants when you get home. (But if you really feel you need to bring soil and plants I won't stop you.)

    Bring at least one big container, or two or three if you'd like to make more and several smaller reservoir containers for each big container, and/or the lid of the big container if it has one. Try to get as much free/recycled/re-used containers as you can. You get a gold star for dumpster diving. Anyone up for the challenge to see who can build one for free?

    Ok I feel my explanation is obtuse so here are some more pics:
    Though this design uses a "wick" container, we can choose to build ours with or without. There are many ways to do this, so I will try to come up with at least a couple of options, though some will depend on what containers you bring.

    This is an exercise in creativity not a recipe, so if you don't bring the "right" stuff, either you might be able to trade with someone else, or I should have a few extra things. But at very least you should be able to home with the knowledge of how to build one. If you are not sure what to bring just go with your gut and don't worry... this is all for fun.

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  • Michael Q.

    I have a new stack of food grade buckets if anyone is interested. Maybe now that the ranch is all set up Dave can host it finally!

    Hope everyone had a productive growing season!

    October 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This sounds great! I look forward to it.

    August 10, 2013

  • SuzieB

    Looking forward to this, as my 5 yr old potted strawberries died this year in the last heat wave when i wasn't home to water them =[.

    July 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Know this is a place holder date, but hoping their is a meet up sooner than January!

    June 25, 2013

  • Michael Q.

    What a great idea! I can't make it BUT I have access to a bunch of FREE food grade 5 gallon buckets if anyone is interested....

    1 · January 4, 2013

    • Stacie

      Oh this is great, if U still have some I would also appreciate some. Thanks

      April 8, 2013

    • Michael Q.

      I'm working on it right now for ya.... Hope you're doing great!

      April 11, 2013

  • Michael Q.

    Well since this is moved I guess that you won't need the buckets? If anyone still wants some let me know and I'll work it out. I am hoping I can make the next meeting after this one...

    February 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward to this.

    January 12, 2013

  • Diana F.

    ok We'll take as many as you want to get We can never have enough buckets. lol.

    January 6, 2013

  • Michael Q.

    Unfortunately I can't make it to that either, but everyone can tell me who would like one and we can co-ordinate some how. no problem...

    January 5, 2013

  • Diana F.

    I'm interested Michael!! Will you be at the next meet up. Maybe you can bring them with you?

    January 5, 2013

  • Dave

    I moved this to the weekend after the superbowl. Self-watering containers are more geared for the summer months around these parts. This is more of a rainy day activity anyway, and September Saturdays are better suited for summer harvests and canning as well as setting up the fall/winter gardens.

    September 7, 2012

  • Steacy S.

    Do you need a ride to any events, Pat?

    June 15, 2012


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