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DIY Drip Irrigation Bottle for Gardens {How To}

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Watering your plants daily can be difficult, especially if you like to travel and don’t have a neighbor to do it for you. If your plants get full sun for a few hours a day, not being watered regularly can wither them pretty quickly.

You can buy devices that will do the watering for you. But if you have a drill, you can also make your own DIY drip irrigation system with just one recyclable item: a 2-liter soda bottle.

The beauty of a drip irrigation system is that it puts every drop of water exactly where the plants can use it. There’s no overflow, no water sprinkling out onto the grass – no water wasted at all.

It works wonderfully for container gardening and apartment gardeners, too.

Plastic bottles in ground being used for DIY drip irrigation

If you’re looking for a drill, I have an older, corded Black + Decker set I just love, but I don’t think it’s being made anymore. I think this battery powered drill set is the one I’d pick now.

DIY Drip Irrigation Bottles

There are two basic ways to set up your DIY drip irrigation drip bottle. The first version catches rainwater, which means you won’t need to fill it as often.

The disadvantage with it, however, is that it can also catch debris blown in on the wind. That can dirty the water so it won’t go through the holes. Also, pets, kids and wild yard critters can get at the water, so if you put fertilizer in it, that could be bad.

The second version doesn’t catch any rainwater, so you will need to refill it more often. But it also doesn’t get clogged with debris, and neither kids nor animals can easily drink out of it. Your choice.

The drilled cap version

  1. Put a small bit on your drill.
  2. Drill several (an even number) holes in the plastic cap of your soda bottle. Make sure the holes are big enough to avoid getting clogged with dirt and debris.
  3. Slice the bottom of the bottle off with a sharp knife.
  4. Bury the bottle halfway – cap downward – in a spot near the plant you’re trying to water.
  5. Fill the bottle with water. The water will  drip slowly into the soil where plants can easily make use of it.

You’ll need to refill the bottle when it runs out – probably never more than once a day. The bottle will also catch rain. You can also add plant food or fertilizer to the water if you want to.

The bottom drilled version(s)

  1. Put a small bit on your drill.
  2. Drill several holes in the bottom of your soda bottle.
  3. Bury the bottle halfway  – bottom downward – in a spot near the plant you’re trying to water.
  4. Fill the bottle with water.

This one may need refills more often than the other. You can also add plant food or fertilizer to this version if you want. Kids, pets and wild animals will not be able to get at the water.

Additional tips

  • You can weigh the bottles down with some rocks if you can’t bury one deeply enough and it tends to fall over.
  • Use small water bottles to make this tip work in a container garden. Again, you can use either of the above methods, depending how thirsty the plant is that you’re watering. Remember, overwatering is the big concern when watering plants in containers.
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