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Self Watering Container

Funny thing happened when my son and I went fishing... first we caught some lovely rainbow trout, next was we stumbled across eight 5 gallon buckets that are in great shape!  So in the "reuse/recycle" fashion, we brought them home and put 4 of them to use as Self Watering Containers (SWC), also known as SIP containers (Sub Irrigated Planter).

There are many names for these containers or method of planting, but the end result is the same.  I wish I'd have taken more pictures of the actual project, but I'll post a few links to great write ups already out there on the web, no need to recreate the wheel I guess ;o)  Items you will need to complete the project, or at least what I used, was two 5 gallon buckets, or the size of your choice.  A piece of PVC pipe about 1" in diameter, I used left over water tubing from when this house was built that was left in the basement.  A 1" hole drill, a sharp blade knife, a small drill bit like 1/8th and of course a cordless or electric drill.  Last piece you'll need is a small bucket or pale to be used as the "wick"... I used old 1L ice cream containers for this purpose.  I'll make a video and take pics on the next ones I put together.

I've never built or used SIP containers before, but it's been on my to-do list for a while as an option for herbs, tomatoes, green peppers and such in a temporary hot house.  They will be a great addition to any garden and are perfect for the Urban Homesteader, where space and water can be at a premium.

So far I'm very impressed with the results.  Since this was only a test, I put our poorest tomato seedlings in these and they are doing great!  Due to the rain we've had this summer, we only had to top up the containers once.

Here is a pretty good YouTube video describing the basics of building a SIP or SWC out of two 5 gallon buckets

Mother Earth News also has a pretty good writeup on Self Watering Containers which is an excerpt from an awesome book, another in our library actually, The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen of RootSimple blog.  On a side note we recommend you check out their blog... excellent stuff!

This is a work in progress and we'll update our progress as we test these 2 new containers and move on to others.  We'd love to see your container garden and share anything you've learned along your way as well.

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