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DIY Drip Irrigation System, Made from Plastic Bottles

by on Apr 19, 2012

If you’ve ever flown into or out of the Lindbergh terminal at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport during the summertime, you’ve probably noticed very large pots of (usually) petunias hanging from just about every lamp post bordering the entrance and exit routes. Every time I drive past them, I’m always struck by how thick the blooms are, as you can barely see any foliage. This is even more surprising on a hot June day when everything else is looking a little wilt-y. Of course the secret of the MSP petunias is a drip irrigation system. (You can see the little tubes running into each of the pots.) I’ve imagined–someday–having such a system myself so I wouldn’t have to worry about my blossoms during those frequent summertime 3-day weekends. Someday, it seems, has arrived, and it’s super easy and free–thanks to my recycle bin. 

The ‘system’ is super simple. All we have to do is grab some 2-liter plastic bottles, punch 2 holes into the sides and 2 into the bottom, and plant said bottles next to our plants. Fill them with water and our plants will get that slow watering they prefer. For more information about the project, visit Fine Craft Guild.

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  1. I did this today and as soon as I took the hose out of bottle water was half gone ! It took less than 30 seconds for water to be gone. Only had the 4 small holes in each bottle. Tryed putting cap back on and that did not work. I am going back to the soaker hosr !!

  2. You actually have to plant the bottle in the dirt. If you just set it beside the plant, it will drain too quickly.

  3. I have found wine bottles with screw on tops to be great irrigators/waterers for potted plants… and they look pretty too!  Punch a small hole in the top – invert it and put into the soil with the plants.  Amaling help in our HOT Texas summers!

  4. I placed these DIY temporary ollas next to my tomato plants this Spring here in Western Kentucky; however I dug a trench in which to set the bottles, packed hydrogel from diapers around the bottles and also lined the bottom of the trench with soil mixed with hydrogel, filled the trench with plain soil to the level of shallow planting the heirloom tomato plants. The plants themselves were planted almost horizontally in the trench with all but the top leaves removed and the stems buried. A couple times a week I remove the bottle cap to fill the reservoirs and the roots have grown deep to access the water supply. I can’t report on production as yet but I can state that the plants have exploded with growth. They are producing blooms in great quantity. My photos document very healthy, vibrant plants. I pray I can report outstanding production as well as the season progresses!