Sunday, May 30, 2010

Recycle 7-11 Big Gulp. Self waterer for planter.

The plants have grown around and over the Big Gulp waterer.


reuse, recycle a Big Gulp cup
Some plants, such as Impatients, seem to do better when they have a steady source of moisture at hand. I top off the water supply to a large planter of Impatients with a recycled 7-11 Big Gulp cup (largest size) and domed lid.

The basic idea is to use the Big Gulp cup as a water reservoir inside the planter. Water wicks from the cup to the soil, providing a steady supply of moisture.  Here's how.

Use 'wicks' from a mop. Put one end of each of 3 wicks, or so,  into the cup. Ensure the wicks touch the bottom of the cup, and then run them up over the sides and out. Invert the dome lid over the cup and add a scrap of landscape fabric to cover the lid and the wicks as they leave the cup. I put a rock in the lid just to keep the fabric stable, while I 'plant' the cup in the planter. Add a few inches of potting mix in the planter and put the cup in, arranging the wicks where you want the moisture to be. Carefully add more soil without pulling the wicks out of the cup. The lip of the cup should sit just above the final level of the soil. Fill the planter with plants and the cup with water. Water from the cup will wick into the soil for the roots. The fabric hides the cup and keeps insects and dirt out of the water reservoir.

The inverted domed lid can be used on larger vessels, like a large yogurt container, if you want a bigger supply of water present for your plants. There you go.

Advantages: steady water supply for the plants, no need to water so frequently, and conserve water since none runs out. Roots will grow throughout the container, not just directed to the bottom.
The 'wicks' are from a cotton mop.
Once the wicks are in the cup put the inverted lid on.
Put the cup in the soil with the wicks hanging out and spread into the dirt.




At the top, see the watering cup, with black landscape fabric to cover the wicks and the cup. Soon the flowers will grow over it. Fill the cup with water and your plants will thrive.

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