Make your own self-watering container garden

Self-watering container gardens for the hungry:

We’re trying some of these this year while we build up our veggie soil quality. The idea came from looking at the Earth Box designs and having sticker shock at the prices…

Basically, we get heavy duty food grade buckets locally for $1.75 with lids, and add in a 7 gallon grow bag ($0.50). Don’t ask why you need a 7 gal grow bag to fit a 5 gal bucket…

Put an empty yogurt container upside down in the bottom of the bucket to provide a bit of support to help keep the bag off the bottom. The tension of the bag around the edge of the bucket does the rest. drill a hole a few inches up in the side of the bucket for drainage (overflow), and a couple of large holes in the top of the lid – size depends on what you want to plant.

Fill the grow bag up with a loose mix of soil, peat, whatever you have on hand and mix in some organic fertilizer (fish meal, cottonseed meal, whatever). We use sifted rotted wood and stream sand/silt mixed together. Nice and free and it works great with some fish meal mixed in…

Put the lid on, water it gently to wet the potting mix and fill the reservoir. Plant!

Since we grow our own plant starts and make our own potting mix, the total cost is less than $3 per container for the bucket, bag and fertilizer. much better than the Earth Boxes. Even if you have to buy soil mix, it comes out to around $4-5 per container.

My wife put together a work-party to assemble a bunch of these with one of her homeschool groups yesterday. Some were kept by the families, lots of others were planted with tomato and summer squash plants and were donated to our food pantry this morning.

Won’t grow a lot of calories, I know, but it’s something to help out and I hope it empowers people a bit to see how easy (and cheap) it can be to grow some of your own food.

Below is the handout that went along with the containers to be handed out at the food pantry:

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