Deep Watering with Pop Bottles. Verdict? Not So Deep

May 29, 2008

I decided to try deep watering my tomato plants using 500 ml pop bottles filled with fish emulsion fertilizer. I rinsed out the bottles, filled them up, capped them off and poked three holes in each on one side with a push pin. I made a long depression in the soil with my finger and set them push-pin-hole down. They looked pretty good:

I thought the fertilized water would slowly drip out but it’s been a day now and the bottles are still fairly full. I lifted a couple up and checked the soil underneath and it wasn’t noticeably damp. There was a bit of dampness but that was probably from me squeezing the bottle when I picked it up. Maybe I need to make bigger holes. Maybe I need to elevate the bottles off the surface of the soil so that the holes don’t get plugged up.

9 Responses to “Deep Watering with Pop Bottles. Verdict? Not So Deep”

  1. jamilynnfitz Says:

    Could you poke one small holel on the top pf the bottle? It sounds like you have very small holes, and no way for air to escape. Try it on one bottle and see if it would work. It would be easier to poke 1 hole into each bottle than to make threes holes in each bottle bigger, or to elevate each bottle.

  2. Norman Eoff Says:

    Try using 2L bottles buried vertically in the soil with the cap removed. Bury them so that just the top is exposed and the bottom is close to a foot underground. Put one tiny pinhole in the bottom of each bottle before burying. Every few weeks, use a funnel to fill bottles with your liquid fertilizer. Works for me.

  3. For the liquid to get out air must flow in. If the hole in the bottom is too small and/or the soil too compact that will not happen. A small hole on the top of the bottle as jamilynnfitz suggest should do the trick.

  4. greylady-gardener Says:

    Thanks for the reminder! 🙂 I used gallon jugs a few years ago. I didn’t have many so I put one jug between two plants. I buried them almost all the way and left the tops off. I put holes in the bottoms at the sides, so that the water could flow to each side and get both plants. I can’t get the gallon jugs now, so I will give it another go this year with the 2 litre bottles.

  5. Gillian Says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a slow drip watering system set up. This seems like an easy-peasy way to do so, but… what about the type of plastic though? Do you know if there are some kinds that would leach into the soil and others that wouldn’t??

  6. Kathy Says:

    Thanks everyone for the helpful tips! I definitely need to change something as it’s just not working the way it is right now. I’ll experiment this weekend.

    Gillian, I have no idea. It’s something that I saw at You Grow Girl and also in use at Ottawa Hortiphilia’s garden. The only death-plastic I know about is the one with a #7 in the triangle on the bottom. The ones in the pictures are Pepsi bottles so the contents were once consumable.

  7. Gillian Says:

    I just checked a pop bottle and it was labelled as #1 plastic – which doesn’t contain the thing that scares me in plastic (bisphenol A). So I plan to try this watering system now! Thanks for the tip.

  8. Lee Says:

    I agree with the posters who say you need to provide another hole, on the top side of the bottle, for the air to get in.

    I water my large veg. with 4-l vinegar bottles with one fairly large hole in one bottom corner. I fill them up with the hose and put them beside the plant. It works fine but it would be less work to bury them at planting time, I thought.

    It was good to read that others have watered with buried bottles.

  9. free Says:

    I put them in vertically, with the neck part pushed into the ground (no lid). It helps if there’s something to lean the bottle against so that it doesn’t tip over. Otherwise, you can bury it further underground.

    When the ground is wet, the hole is clogged and water doesn’t come out. when it’s dry, it can suck up air so the water leaks out slowly. It’s a great little watering system for when you’re going away, or if you have plants that need more watering than you can be bothered with!

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