Container Gardening: How to make planters that don’t dry out!

Re-posted from the old blog but I’m at it again! Time to plant. :)

I have dirt in my eye and dirt under my fingernails. That’s what I get for picking a windy day for the planting project. But I’m happy!

Have you ever tried a container garden and found it was a bust because you couldn’t keep the potted plants watered enough? Or you leave for an overnight camping trip and poof! Your little babies burn up in an unexpected heat wave.

If so, you might like this method that I dreamed up in my little pea (haha) brain. It’s modeled after the highly successful Earth Boxes that I have. But since my whole vegetable garden is going on the deck this year and I only have two Earth Boxes I knew I needed to come up with a plan. Two planters simply would not do. See the original earth box? It is the black planter in the back. The other’s are my homemade version.

So, here is what you do.

To make a water reservoir in the bottom of a pot you will need to either start with a container that doesn’t have holes or plug them somehow. I used tin foil. My goal was at least an inch deep reservoir. Larger for my big planters. If you have a slightly smaller pot to slip inside that is also shorter and will allow a small space under it that is ideal. You can also use rocks to create the space for water to collect. Some of my planters have 1″ rocks in the bottom to create the bowl for water.

Next you will need some type of tray to keep the dirt from filling up your reservoir. In my smallest pots I used a piece of paper towel. Larger pots got a cardboard piece with holes poked in it. Who knows if we really needed the holes. This is all an experiment. :)

I filled the reservoir with water before putting the tray or porous membrane in then added the dirt and plants. In large pots I inserted a piece of pipe down the side of the pot so I could deliver water directly to the reservoir instead of top watering. Below are diagrams of the whole process. So far it is working splendidly! I’ve even got some small pots with Wave Petunia’s on the South side deck that I’ve only had to water once a week so far this spring! I’m sure in the summer heat they will last a couple days if we take off for the weekend.

I have a large cedar box with watermelon and another with an heirloom black tomato. My earthboxes contain bush beans and squash. Then I’m growing a yellow pepper. A jalapeno, a planter with various herbs and several pots of mixed lettuce and edible flowers (nasturtium and pansies) as pictured at top.

What’s in your garden?

2 thoughts on “Container Gardening: How to make planters that don’t dry out!”

  1. Hi Jessie, thanks for the tip. I’ve been thinking of gardening lately but haven’t planted anything yet. I started a compost pile and dug up a section in the front yard overrun with weeds. I took the dog for a walk this morning wanting to find a yard sale with pots for some new plants but no luck. I’ll have to look at Big Lots or Target and get started. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. You’ll have to let me know how it goes, Angela! :) We’ve got seedlings in the windows but not a lot outside yet besides grape hyacinth.

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