What do you do when you want to grow veggies at an office surrounded by gravel with no available growing space? You create containers! This was the dilemma this spring at our Clinton Extension Office. The summer Junior Master Gardener program was starting and we needed a way to grow vegetables with the kids, but we had no available soil to grow in and I knew that traditional containers would take a lot of maintenance in keeping them watered.
So, cue the self-watering containers! These self-watering containers are a great solution for gardeners who don't have the time to water our containers very often. There are a multitude of these types of containers available on the market, but unfortunately some can come at a steep price. For example, I have some self-watering containers as window boxes which I love, but they certainly were a bit of an investment.
To lower the cost, a make your own type of self-watering container is a great alternative and I've had great success so far.
The idea behind a self-watering container is that there is a reservoir of water at the bottom of the container ready to keep the soil moist as needed. There is a small basket sitting down in the reservoir that is filled with soil as well. This soil serves as a wick to pull the water up into the rest of the container. There is also an overflow hole in place to make sure the reservoir doesn't get too full.