February 4, 2009
Keep your garden green with these do-it-yourself watering devices.
For tomatoes and peppers:
1. With a sharp knife, cut several small X-shaped holes in the bottom of plastic milk jugs or well-scrubbed bleach bottles.
2. Bury about half of each in the soil between two plants, and refill as needed.
The water will seep slowly and deeply down to where the plants’ roots can use it most.
For melons or squash:
1. Plug the bottom hole of unglazed 1.5-gallon clay pots with stoppers or caulk (you want the water to leach slowly through the porous pot walls, not through the bottom).
2. When you prepare the bed for planting, create pits 24 inches across and 5 inches deep.
3. Fill each pit with rich soil and bury a clay pot in the center, with its mouth level with the ground.
4. Fill the pot with water and cover the top with a tile, old slate shingle, or old pot lid—anything that will prevent evaporation. Weight the top with a brick, if necessary.
5. Plant four seeds around the pot. Check the water level periodically and fill to the brim when the level falls.
For more tips on how to keep your garden green while saving water, see our Waterwise Garden article.