Thursday, May 20, 2010

Simple DIY water reservoir

I have, somehow, amazingly, managed to keep two green potted plants alive in my appartment for the last five years. Don't ask me how. If my experience is anything to go by, it helps to nearly kill them every now and then. ;) This one looks a bit pitiable from this angle, but it's actually a hanging plant that has now reached 60 cm in length! The main problem I have with my plants, especially in the coming hotter months, is that they often dry out very thoroughly and it's very difficult to bring moisture back into the core of the soil. The water seeps into the outer few millimetres and everything inside is bone dry. What to do...
Enter DIY solution: test tube core watering reservoir!
All you need is a plastic test tube or something similar, and something sharp to make holes. My test tube contained embossing powder that I had already moved to a wider jar. I then made little holes at regular intervals, from just over the bottom of the test tube to about 1,5cm from the top. It is a good idea to keep the holes as small as possible, and to space them evenly so no one area of soil gets too much water.
Carefully make a hole into the soil and insert the test tube, as close to the center as you can without damaging the roots. Or just jam it in there, like I did. ;) Best to do this on an occation where the soil is actually quite moist, so that there's no need for a jackhammer. Fill tube with water and see how the water is drawn into the soil where it's most needed: in the middle!
The holes I made turned out to be a little big, so the water seeps out a little faster than I'd prefer. I decided, though, that the important thing was that the water would be delivered where I wanted, and it is. :) If you manage to make smaller holes than what I did, it might be an idea to keep the cork on hand if you had one. This is especially handy if you find some longer test tubes that can be just partially inserted into the soil. That way you can fill your reservoir to the top, cap it tight to prevent evaporation, and you have a longer-term watering system in place! I had some long test tubes that used to hold vanilla pods, but they were impossible to pierce without breaking either the tube or the point - or both.
Well, I wish us all the best of luck with our potted plants, and hope that they all survive the summer without permanent ill effects. I like to think I'm giving my plants a fair chance this year. :)

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