The last time I got busy and missed watering my plants for two days, the scorching sun nearly killed them. The poor things just lay there wilting and hanging, pleading to be plugged out of their misery. Although I managed to revive a few of my little darlings, I pledged I will never again push them into this sudden death.
That's how I discovered do-it-yourself drip irrigation - a techie term for a very simple concept. It is one of the best ways to provide a steady water supply to your plants without worrying about giving them constant attention. Through this method a device is employed directly into the soil (of your potted plant) that slowly delivers water directly around the roots. And the best part is, by using recycled materials like waste beer or plastic bottles you can make your own drip irrigation system for free.
What I used, rather reused is an old pet (plastic) bottle and cut-off its bottom using a sharp knife. Then I drilled some 6-7 holes into the cap (which was tightly screwed on to the mouth of the bottle).
With my drip-irrigant ready I dug a small pit into the soil of the pot next to the plant and inserted the bottle with cap side down. I dug the pit deep enough so that it allowed me to bury almost one-third of the bottle into the soil.
And that's it - now every time I feel I do not have the time to water the plants, I simply fill my drip-irrigant with water which gradually trickles into the soil keeping it moist all the time.
Few helpful tips in case you plan to follow DIY drip irrigation:
- If you want your drip irrigation system to work slower, drill fewer holes, and if faster, drill more holes.
- Don't make the holes too small, the debris will clog them in no time. It is best to keep checking the cap from time to time to ensure the holes are free enough for the water to seep through.
- Tie an old cloth piece or a nylon sock over the the open end to avoid mosquitoes.
- If you're a sucker for appearances, position the bottle in amongst a grouping of plants so it is hidden from view.
- You can add fertilizer to the bottle every few weeks so that your plants are fertilized right at the roots.
Hopefully this process will help some of you amateur plant-keepers who travel or keep too busy. Let me know if you ever need more helpful tips. Its a great way to learn more from these challenges.