Making A Drip Watering System For Only Dollars

There are many kinds of drip watering systems. The most basic are generally at least $20, give or take. The nicer ones are close to $100.

The benefits to drip systems include significantly less water waste because of reduced runoff and evaporation, as well as delivering water to the base or roots of the plants so as to not water the leaves of plants that don’t do well with watering from above or which are fighting fungus or mold. The delivery straight to the roots which I’m using brings water to deep tap roots and encourages deep roots for hardier, more drought resistant plants.

I did a homemade drip watering system using plastic bottles. Costco had a thirty pack of Gatorade for about ten dollars. With the heat we’ve had in the Pacific Northwest lately, I decided that some Gatorade couldn’t hurt; we don’t usually drink much of it because of the sugar and coloring.

I also had a couple of two liter soda bottles from a get-together with friends.

Many drip systems drip water onto the top of the soil, but the one I made delivers it straight to the roots.

I started by removing labels and rinsing the bottles.

From there I drilled three holes in the bottom of each. For the small bottles I drilled two more holes on one side, and for the big ones I did three up two sides. Go slow with the drill. You don’t want it to slip.

After that I buried them next to the roots of the plants. Where there were pairs close together I used the two liters. The holes up the sides faced the plant.

Epsom salt is an organic way to help plants recover from root shock and create better blooms and fruit. It dissolves in water, so I put maybe a teaspoon into each bottle before watering. I imagine that putting liquid fertilizer, compost teas, etc in would also be possible.

To finish off, I decided to keep the caps on the bottles. I wanted to keep insects from falling in and drowning — particularly good ones like bees and ladybugs — and slow down how quickly the water drains. It only slows it a little, but the concept is not unlike putting your finger on the end of a straw to keep the water from coming out. In this case, multiple holes in the bottle still allow it to drain, just slower.

I didn’t particularly want a bunch of orange Gatorade caps in my garden even though most of the plants will eventually spread enough to hide them fairly well, so I painted them. My adhesive stencils pulled paint off since the paint doesn’t adhere very strongly to the smooth plastic, so I free-handed a lot of them. They’re not very fancy, but they’re better than a bunch of orange caps with a logo.

So what do you think?


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