Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Water for Elevenplants

Do you have vacation plans, a bunch of cherished plants and no friends that you trust with the keys to your place (or, as in our case, don’t want to bother them)? In the olden days you were left with two options: take that vacation and hope your plants didn’t wither away and die or stay home all summer and water them daily. These days there are a couple of costly solution to this problem Sky Mall has as $50 electronic indoor watering system and there are the As Seen on TV water globes (it’s not economical to buy 11 of those things). I have never considered ordering something from sky mall (aside from the life-sized Easter Island statue) or an infomercial (aside from the set it and forget it oven), so I began looking for an inexpensive DIY option. For only $10 I was able to engineer a wick irrigation system with some clothesline, a few washers, a table and a bucket.

What you will need
  • Clothesline or another kind of cotton rope
  • A dozen or so metal washers, depending on how many plants you need to water
  • A bucket or large pot (I used my brewing bucket)

  • Find a table, chair or something that can prop up a bucket full of water higher than the pots
  • Arrange your plants around said table or chair in an area with decent light
  • Cut lengths of clothesline long enough to reach from the bottom of the water bucket to the bottom of the pot, some larger plants may require a couple of clotheslines for proper coverage
  • Tie one end of the clothesline to a washer so it stays submerged in the bucket
  • Soak the clotheslines for a few minutes
  • Bury the other end of each clothesline as deep as you can into the pot using a pencil or something
  • Thoroughly water each plant
  • Enjoy your vacation

Water will slowly be drawn up from the bucket and down into the dirt through capillary action, kind of like how water creeps up the back of your jeans when it is raining.

We were gone for 5 days and this system kept the soil in the pots moist. Our basil plant is the ‘canary’ for watering and will wilt after a day and a half without water. When we came back the basil was strong and showed no signs of wilting.

I had considered doing the upside down soda bottle system, but that would have required buying and dumping 12 2 liter bottles of soda. The wick system turned out to be the quickest, cheapest and easiest solution to keeping plants happy while you are on vacation. It’s pretty effective too.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very innovative yet compelling irrigation system. You really created a useful and simple drip irrigation. This is indeed a brilliant idea.