Monday, May 11, 2009


I have been thinking about the best way to re-use 2 liter bottles to water my plants. Here's an idea:

Step 1: Take a standard 2 liter bottle.
Pepsi for me, thanks!
Step 2: Take an empty 5 gallon bucket donated kindly by a local restaurant. Drill or punch drainage holes on the bottom.
Prior BBQ sauce vesselStep 3: Take an old cotton t-shirt and cut a 1 - 2 inch wide x 1.5 foot swath from it. These measurements are totally arbitrary. Do what works for you.
Groovy!Step 4: Fill 1/3 of the 5 gallon bucket with potting mix.

Step 5: Get the t-shirt scrap wet. Really wet.

Step 6: Lay one end of the t-shirt scrap inside the 5 gallon bucket on top of the potting mix. Add enough water to moisten the soil.

Step 7: Fill the rest of the bucket with potting soil and add water to wet the newly added soil. Put your plant in.

Step 8: Insert the other end of t-shirt scrap into 2 liter bottle and fill bottle with water.
Put capillary action to work for you!
I just thought of this when I awoke this morning. I haven't tried it but I think it will work.

The magic here is provided by capillary action. The water travels up the cotton fibers as water from the soil vanishes.

Our nemesis here is evaporation. We don't want the t-shirt scrap to dry. I think I could wrap the exposed fabric with a plastic grocery bag to keep it wet during the hot days of Summer.

Unknowns are: Will it work at all? Will the water wick fast enough for a big plant like a tomato?

  • Although the sub-irrigated container using two buckets works well, it uses two buckets and requires more drilling, cutting, and assembly. A new method that requires a minimum amount of cutting, drilling, and materials is nice.
  • Burying a bottle or olla in a container takes up precious space needed by the plant.
  • I apparently do not have enough to do.
I will implement this design and report on my progress.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. TQ for sharing! Good idea and frugal also :-D

  3. Wow, David,
    You have really nice illustrations.

  4. Stephanie,
    Well, time will tell if it is a good idea. I hope it works.

    Thank you. I use Microsoft Paint and my mouse. Someday, maybe this coming Christmas, I will ask for a computer drawing tablet.

  5. This seems like a genious idea!!! I will be interested to hear if it works. It would be the perfect solution to vacationing in the summer with potted plants. At least they wouldn't die! Good luck!!