Gosh I love building self-watering planters........It's a piece of cake compared to the construction projects I normally perform, and they give me something to do when I get a break from other things. Knowing that I would need a few models for the (hopeful) upcoming workshop in the spring, I decided to build one from a single 5 gallon bucket. This planter is suitable for all kinds of veggies, but not for all of them. The following things will work in it, mostly with a single plant inside:
Determinate tomato, broccoli, cabbage, collards, pepper, etc.
Here's what you'll need - A 5 gallon bucket with lid, small piece of landscaping fabric, a scrap piece of 1" pvc pipe at least 20" long, 5 yogurt cups, and a cheap piece of 12" square floor tile (about $0.40 each at Lowes) Total cost for planter - less than $5.
I'm gonna be moving pretty fast through this tutorial, because the pictures pretty much speak for themselves.
Photo below - here's a closeup of the cheap floor tile. It didn't come in my color, but was the cheapest one they had. (Okay, I was just kidding, I don't care if it has sissy designs on it - it's gonna be covered with soil anyway) Hehe....
Photo below - components prepped for assembly. Notice the various holes drilled or cut in the bucket where the small black line is marked ( 3/8" hole drilled 3-3/8" from the bottom), in the corners of each of the 4 yogurt cups to the left (which will let water from the reservoir move freely in and out of each, so as to not take up valuable water storage area), in the pvc pipe, and in the piece of floor tile. The yogurt cup inserted into the floor tile is the wicking basket, which has a single 7/64" hole drilled in the bottom of it.
Photo below - Place 4 of the cups evenly spaced into the bottom of the bucket. These will be used to support the perforated barrier (floor tile), which keeps the soil mass resting above the water reservoir.
Photo below - Slide the round piece of floor tile (after trimming it to the contour of the bucket) with wicking basket inserted down to the bottom.
Photo below - Insert the pvc fill pipe down through the perforated barrier (after cutting a hole for it to fit through), all the way down to the bottom of the bucket.
Photo below - cut a piece of landscaping fabric to rest on top (which helps keep the soil from falling into the water reservoir, and also roots inside the soil mass).
Photo below - using a 1-1/2" hole saw, cut a hole in the center of the lid (for the plant to grow through), and also another one to the side - which allows the pvc fill pipe to protrude through.
That's all there is to it. Ok, I know I didn't show how to fill with soil, but this post is only about constructing it - not filling or planting it. I'll probably place a pepper or tomato plant in this one during the spring workshop, and show the attendees every step of maintaining and cleaning it for storage, as well.
Anyway, this is one of the many planters and containers that will be shown at the event.
Take care, and happy gardening!