Hello! As Audrey Hepburn once said “to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” and with the chilly weather and all of the crazy in the world these days, heading out to the nearest lawn and garden store to help cure your spring fever just isn’t an option; BUT there are a few indoor gardening projects you can do in the meantime. Including this fun self watering system you can make! I love this project because it is quick, simple, and fun to make.
For this post, I am prepping for small potted plants, about a half gallon pot or so, and because of this I am using mini wine bottles. You can feel free to use a regular sized wine bottle, so long as the combined weight of the bottle and water will not tip your pot over. No one wants a combination of broken stems, ripped petals/ leaves, water, soggy dirt, broken glass from your bottle, tears, and broken ceramic shards when your potted plant tips over because it is not steady enough to balance all of that weight. Not like I have ever had experience doing that before…
I also recommend using Mini Wine Bottles because they are usually made of non-breakable plastic.
Okey doke, grab some wine and let’s get started!
DIY Mini Wine Bottle Self Watering System
Step One: Gather Your Supplies
You will Need:
(As Many as You Would Like) Capped Wine Bottles
A protective Surface to prevent the nail from piercing your table
Step Two: Empty and Rinse Out Your Bottles
Pour yourself a glass while doing your project or collect empty bottles to build a supply in preparation for your project. When the bottle is finished, go ahead and rinse out any wine residue left behind.
Step Three: Preparing the Bottle Cap
Now that your bottle is clean, go ahead and keep the cap off. Gather your bottle cap, nail, hammer, and protective surface. I used an old cutting board to protect my table from damage.
When you are all set up, use the nail to penetrate a hole into the cap. Tap just hard enough to break through the cap. If you use too much force, you may find yourself having to remove a nail from your work surface.
Step Four: Remove the Inner Plastic Seal
I will always recommend removing the seal to improve water flow. Leaving the seal inside of the cap, even with a hole through both, enhances the risk of dirt building up between the cap and seal creating a clog that will stop the water from flowing.
To remove the inner seal, simply use your nail to pop it out. Please be careful not to poke yourself or cause injury… especially if you have have a glass or two of wine at this point.
Optional Step: Creating a Second Hole
Why? The more holes you have, the more water will flow. Also, if one hole becomes clogged with dirt or a pebble, you have a second hole as insurance to keep the water flowing.
I also like to create two holes for plants that:
1. Thrive in wet conditions or
2. Are in a Sunny spot where it could dry out quickly
Leave the cap on the bottle until you are ready to fill it. I swear every time I take a cap off a bottle of ANYTHING it grows legs and runs away. So keep your eye out. (I seriously lose bottle caps all the time.)
One More Optional Step: Remove the Label
*Not all labels will remove so easily.* Leave it on or take it off. The choice is all yours since I don’t really think your plants will care either way. The’ll just be happy to receive water.
Step Five: Fill Your Bottle with Water
Step Six: Enjoy!
Water your potted plant until the soil is moist, then insert your bottle into the dirt, cap-side down.
This poinsettia was thirsty!
How does this type of self-watering system work?
Super Simplified Answer: When the moist soil begins to dry out, it releases oxygen. This oxygen will essentially push its way up into the bottle, replacing the space that once held water to now hold air. The water, because it is heavier than air, will then be pushed out of the bottle and down into the soil. The plant controls the amount of water it receives, based on its need to maintain a particular moisture level. SCIENCE!
Okay, no lie I never liked science class and that was not the greatest explanation ever, but this is a fun project and a gardener’s dream come true. You can make these on a girls night in with friends or even with your family as part of a science lesson plan.