Building My First Self Watering Container Insert

Posted on Apr 26 2009 - 5:52pm by Mike Lieberman

I took my first crack at making the insert for the self watering container today. The hardest part was cutting a square into circles that would fit snuggly into the bucket. Yes, I just said snuggly.

    Tools that I needed:

  • Razor blade
  • Scissor
  • Pen
  • Thumbtack
  • Rope or string
  • Something to measure water
    Materials:

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Coin cup to use as my wicking basket
  • 1 12″x12″ vinyl tile
  • Drill with 1/4″ bit
    Steps in making the insert:

  • Put the cup in the container and fill with water. Stop when the water reached the top of the cup. Was about 9 gallons.
  • Next I traced the top and bottom circumference of the bucket onto the tile.
  • Cutting out the circle of the tile wasn’t as easy as this website implied. Eventually I cut out the circle with the help of a scissor.
  • Once the big circle was out had to cut the circle out in the middle for the wicking basket. This was fun.
  • Now I had to trim down the outer circle so that it would fit into the bucket. Used the scissor for this. It was much easier than the razor blade.
  • Then I had to drill holes in the cup. I used a 1/4″ bit and drilled a bunch of holes to allow the soil to soak up the water and feed the roots.
  • It was then put all together and a 1/4″ hole was drilled in the side of the bucket just under the insert for overflow of water.

First step in building the self watering container bucket was to put the coin cup in the bucket and fill until the water reached the top of the cup. It measured at about 9 gallons.Building a self watering container insert - Next I traced the top and bottom circumference of the bucket onto the tileCutting a circle was difficult. I put a thumbtack in the middle of the cirlce and measured out the radius. The string was cut to that length and razor was tied to the end. I was hoping this would get a good cut. Not so much.Eventually got the circle cut out. Now had to do the same thing for the inner circle.Trimmed down the outer circle so that it would fit into the bucket. Used a scissor for this. It was much easier than the razor blade.Using the scissor made thing easier and faster. The insert fit nicely into the bucket. Next step is to drill 1/4 inch holes into the cup.Drilling the holes in the cup to make it into a wicking basket.A bunch of 1/4 inch holes were drilled into the cup. These will allow the soil and roots of the plants to absorb the water.A 1/4 inch hole was drilled into the side of the self watering container just below the insert. Once water starts leaking from it, I'll know that the container is filled.The first self watering container is nearly complete. Just need the pipe.

One insert down, many more to go. There has to be an easier way to cut the circles.

  • Bilthuisg

    What is a coin cup?  Do I have to be from New York to know this?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    You can use a 1lb deli container such as a margarine tub.

  • http://twitter.com/thegreenman Chris

    This is easier if you just use two buckets sleeved together, cutting the hole through the bottom of the inside(top) bucket. 

    If you are lucky you can find a 5 gallon for the plant and 6 and 1/2 gallon for the bottom reservoir.