Tip of the Day – Another Use for Plastic Bottles

Posted on May 28, 2008 by Allie

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Gardening conflicts with my other favorite summer activity – backpacking. It’s hard to get away for a weekend in the woods when the tomatoes need watering, so here’s my solution.

Frugal Dad’s Square Foot Garden uses water bottles with pinholes as a drip irrigation system. At first, I was planning to strategically place bottles around my garden, but it gets windy here, and I could picture my bottles ending up in the neighbor’s yard, so I decided to plant them in the ground. This way the water will enter the ground at root level. The mouth of the bottle sticks out for refilling.

Frugal Dad’s water bottle drip irrigation system is meant to water efficiently through the course of a day. I needed my drip irrigation system to water longer, so I used one liter bottles.

I poked two pin holes toward the bottom of each bottle, but when I planted them the water dripped out too fast. I wrapped the bottles in wet newspaper before burying the bottles. The newspaper slowed the drip. I’m a little worried it may be too slow, but I’ll watch it and adjust as needed. The newspaper will break down, so I’ll need to replace it. I’m brainstorming for a material I can use that won’t need to be replaced as often.

This is hardly a well-tested method at this point. It’s all experimental. I’d love to know if you have ideas that can improve on this. And if you decide to try something similar, please let me know what works/doesn’t work.

If this does work, I’m hoping to put funnels in the bottles when it rains to collect water. I’ll recap the bottles after the rain to prevent mosquito issues.

Another benefit is that since the plastic won’t break down, the same bottles can be used over and over again (I’ve switched to buying sparkling water in glass bottles if at all).

My wet newspaper folding technique (perfected after several failed attempts) is as follows.
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No Comments +

  1. Interesting. I look forward to updates.

    May 28th, 2008 at 12:04 pm
    Comment by Howling Hill
  2. Maybe using fabric instead of newspaper? It too will break down eventually, but much slowly.

    May 28th, 2008 at 12:34 pm
    Comment by ana
  3. It definitely seems like you’re on the right track. Make sure you update us on whether this method works out or not. I’ll roll it around in the cobwebs of my mind in the meantime.

    May 28th, 2008 at 1:46 pm
    Comment by mickey
  4. i really like this idea!

    May 28th, 2008 at 1:52 pm
    Comment by Danielle
  5. Your ingenuity never ceases to amaze me.

    May 28th, 2008 at 6:17 pm
    Comment by The Modern Gal
  6. i, like you, had this idea that plants need to be regularly watered. until i worked on a farm and learned that indeed, plants do not need as much water as you think! seedlings in a green house or where ever may need extra attention because they are in the most precocious stage. once you get them out in the ground, they need to “toughen up” if you will. If you watered them on a Friday morning and left until Sunday evening, they would be ok. Perhaps a little droopy, but nothing a shower of water would not rejuvenate in less than half a day.

    on the flip side, the modern gal is right – you are so creative!

    May 28th, 2008 at 7:27 pm
    Comment by erikka
  7. [...] Gardening conflicts with my other favorite summer activity – backpacking. It’s hard to get away for a weekend in the woods when the tomatoes need watering, so here’s my solution. [...]

    May 30th, 2008 at 2:01 pm
    Pingback by Quick Green Reads For The Weekend Volume Sixty Seven. | The Good Human
  8. What an awesome idea! I’ll bet this would work well in potted plants too.

    May 30th, 2008 at 5:13 pm
    Comment by Jessica
  9. This is a great idea!

    I wonder if the BPA in the plastic bottles would come into the soil with the water. It would probably leach out, especially with the heat… Maybe milk carton would work?

    May 31st, 2008 at 12:15 pm
    Comment by Cynthia

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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