Self Watering Containers
Garden Plans!

These self water containers garden plans mean:

NO digging!
NO hoeing!
NO weeding!
NO watering!
NO bending!

Follow these step-by-step instructions, complete with many photos, to build your own garden system.

self watering containers
container garden plans
container garden
container garden pictures

Tools Needed.

You will need a drill, a circular saw, a jig saw (or other saw that can cut circles), and a Kreg jig.

You will also need some specific drill bits:
7/16" spade bit; and
2 7/8" hole saw.

P.S. If you don't have a Kreg Jig yet, check out the link to Amazon in the right hand column.

Materials Needed for
Container Garden Plans.

The materials needed to make one of these self-watering containers garden plans are:

(2) 10' pressure treated 2x4 ($5.00 x 2 = $10);

(1) 8' pressure treated 2x6 ($5.20) enough for 2 sets;

(3) deck blocks ($6.50 x 3 = $19.50);

(1) 4" diameter 10' PVC drain pipe ($12.50);

(2) 4" diameter PVC end cap ($2.08 X 2 = $4.16);


(1)  float valve and water line ($30.00).

Cost Estimate.

The total project will cost less than $100 per row!!! Each row will hold 9 large (7 gallon) size containers.

Before you can grow you will also need some 3" net cups, some containers (you have lots of options for these), some potting mix, and some seed.

Prepare The PVC Drain Pipe!

Step One:
  Cut Off the Flared End.

These drain pipes are designed to slide together so one end is flared.  To fit within the frame this flared end needs to be removed.  Don't throw it away, though!  We will use it later.

The first flare I cut off with a jig saw, but didn't get it very straight.  On the next pipe I cut it off with a circular saw.  That worked much better.  I basically rolled the pipe toward me and held the circular saw in one place.

Step Two:
Cut Out Space for Float Valve.

The float valve needs room to move up and down, AND you need to have room to stick your hand inside to adjust the valve.

My pipes came with markings along one side.  I used those markings to center everything!

A valve opening is cut 2 3/4 inches from the end, and extending for 4 inches.  I also made the opening 2 inches from the center line on each side.

To make this cut use a large drill bit to make holes in each corner.  Then use your jig saw to cut between the holes.  The final result should look somewhat like the photo below.

Step 3:
Cut the Flared End of Pipe.

Mark the flare in two equal pieces and then use your jig saw to cut it in half.  These pieces can be used to cover various openings in your drain pipe to keep out mosquitoes.

Step 4:
Drill Hole in End Cap for Float Valve.

Drill a 7/16" hole about 1/2" inside perimeter of end cap. Insert your float valve into that hole.

Step 5:
Glue End Cap to Drain Pipe.

Using PVC cement, glue the end cap with the hole for the valve to one end of the drain pipe.

If you haven't used PVC cement before, consider watching this video.

Step 6.
Attach End Cap To Other End of Pipe.

The other end cap can be attached with just some silicone sealer.  There is no pressure on this connection so the sealer should keep the water in for a season.

At the end of the season, if needed, you may knock off that end to clean out the drain pipe.

Step 7.
Drill Holes for Net Cups in Drain Pipe.

Do this step AFTER you have the pipe in the support frame!

For 3" net cups you need to drill 2 7/8" holes.  How far apart you drill the holes depends on the size of container you plan to use.

Most of mine will be for 5-7 gallon containers, so I have drilled them ___ " apart.

Build the Support Frame!

The Steps For Building The Support Frame Are On the Next Page.

Click on the photo above or the next button below to see the steps for building the support frame for this self-watering containers garden system.

Step 7:
Drill Holes and Cut Out the Cover.

Drill a hole in each of the circles.  That hole should be as big as the jig saw blade is wide.

Then cut out each of the spaces for your soda bottles.

Step 8:
Drill Overflow Hole & Add the Water.

Put the cover onto the water reservoir.  Fill the reservoir with about 2" of water.  Fill your self-watering soda bottle with water, and place it in one of the cut-outs.

You will notice that the water does not pour out of the soda bottle.  It will only go into the reservoir as the water in the reservoir is used up!

Step 9:
Fill Each of the
5 Soda Bottles With Potting Mix.

Why potting mix and not potting soil?  The potting mix, which is primarily plant matter, will allow the moisture to wick from the neck of the bottle all the way to the seeds, and then, after germination, to the roots of your plants.

Fill the neck of the bottle, and then water the potting mix in.  Add a couple of more inches of potting mix, and then water again.  Keep adding a layer of potting mix, making sure each layer is well-watered!

How far should you fill each bottle?  ALL THE WAY, because it settles.  I left a couple of inches at the top on my first soda bottle container garden, and wish I hadn't!

P.S.  This container was larger than the one I recommend!  Once it is filled, it is very heavy to move.  Go with the 28 quart one!!!

Step 10:
Time to Plant!!

I planted my first soda bottle garden with seeds.  It was fun when my teen-aged son would tell me when I had new plants coming up!!

These container garden plans would be a great project to build with kids or grandkids!

Progress After 3 Weeks!

The pea plants are taking off.  Spinach and lettuce should be ready to pick in a couple of weeks.  Bell peppers are slow and I transplanted them into my "juice bottle garden." (See below)

The onions totally bombed.  I will try again with those.

How About
Juice Bottle Container Garden Plans?

As I warned you at the beginning, it is quite addicting!  I couldn't collect the pop bottles fast enough, so I used juice bottles for another garden.  They were actually much easier to work with!!!

I transplanted some of the peppers I started from seed in the first garden to these new container garden plans.

Still Not Enough Bottles!
So the Milk Jugs Were Next!

We have hardly had any recycling since I started making these container garden plans!

The self-watering milk jug collapsed on me within a couple of days, so will have to solve that for the next one! But the tomatoes are loving this set up!

I am working on a page to show how to build these container garden plans with milk bottles!

More and More Container Gardens!

Instead of gardening being a chore, it has been a total delight!

I have been eating lettuce and spinach for lunch almost every day.  The tomatoes are flowering.

The Carrots and Peas are Growing!

I have been thinning out the carrots.  So looking forward to pulling fresh carrots out!

The pea plants look yellow in the photo, but they are not in real life (just checked them.)  Each day a new branch connects to the trellis!

Just planted a couple more pop bottles with pea pods!  Hopefully, we can pick pea pods for a few weeks!

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