Late last year someone had the bright idea to “fix” the old plumbing in the house. This “fix” lead to there being no outside water access, that means no garden hose, and since water is kind of essential to gardening outside this has made this year interesting. In a way I’ve been preparing the garden for something like this; as a rule I don’t coddle weak plants that can’t survive the hot dry conditions of my small garden. If a plant can’t survive in my clay soil on spring and summer rains and the occasional supplemental watering–then it wasn’t meant to grow for me. I’ve been fortunate that we’ve had a lot of rain and it hasn’t made watering an issue. The past two days though the sun has been shining in Chicago and a couple of plants are not liking this development. When I transplanted one of my Purple Coneflowers this spring I didn’t take a large enough root ball with it and now it is letting me know that I did a poor transplanting job by wilting.
Since I don’t have a water access through the garden hose I can’t give this Coneflower the slow, deep drink of water it needs. Fortunately for the plant–I have some clever moments.
irrigation system.” I got several empty pop bottles and poked small
holes in the bottoms of the bottles. I added a layer of gravel to the
bottom of each bottle to weigh it down. I placed each of the bottles in
a circle at the base of the plant. I filled the bottles (placed the
caps back on) with water that will slowly drip out of the bottom
delivering water where it is needed.
I could have used a
watering can but that would require that I stand out in the sun and
heat and the water would naturally splash and run off to areas where it
wasn’t needed and be wasted. Letting it drip slowly at the base of the
plant prevents water from being wasted. The gravel at the bottom of the
pop bottle is optional, I did it to keep them in place and so they
wouldn’t get blown around the garden when they were empty.
In a potted container I’m thinking of doing the same with some tall and thin bottles of water, but burying them halfway in the potting soil so they can’t get knocked out or blown away when empty.
You could also take the same idea and flip it upside down. Cut off the bottom of the pop bottle and poke the hole in the top of the bottle cap, place the cap on, and insert it (cap first) into the ground. I personally don’t care for this method because the large opening allows or bugs, dirt and garbage to collect inside the soda bottle, but it is another option.
Update: See Container Garden Pop Bottle Drip Irrigation.