When the Circuit Breaker commenced last year, I joined the legion of budding horticulturists in a bid to make more meaningful use of my time.
The endeavour started off well enough, but about a month or so later, the dried fallen leaves covering the base of the pot were a clear enough indication that I had trouble committing to just daily watering.
While returning to the office should mean that my plants have all withered into dried leaf nuggets, thanks to some ‘divine intervention’, they’re well, alive and thriving.
In other words, I made a self-watering contraption.
(Read also “9 Ways To Incorporate Nature Into Your Home“)
And the best part? It produces its own organic fertilizer too! The plants now float on top of my fish tank, which means that the water gets reused. But if you don’t have a fish tank, I’ve included an alternative method that doesn’t require a fish nor a tank further below.
I made these self-watering contraptions by scavenging an unused basket, some extra hooks on suction cups, a random disposable cup, a scrap of cloth, a plastic bottle and a piece of styrofoam the uncle from my neighbourhood fruit stall was going to throw away.
With a little bit of cutting here and there, three different little planters were born.
Self-watering planters — Saves time, saves water, saves plants
Beyond the obvious perk that comes with self-watering planters, namely not having to worry about my plants drying up, it also helps to reduce the amount of water wasted in gardening.
Contrary to what you might think, plants only take in about 50 per cent of the water that’s given through traditional watering. The rest gets evaporated from the surface of the soil, or drains through the soil and out of the bottom of the planter.
With a self-watering planter, the water in the planter’s reservoir can’t evaporate thanks to the layer of soil above, thus a considerably less amount of water is used to upkeep even the thirstiest of plants.
(Read also “Popular And Exotic Indoor Plants To Get Right Now“)
Singapore alone uses about 430 million gallons of water a day, and this amount is estimated to double by 2060. This tiny country lacks natural water resources, and there’s only so much land that can be converted into water storage facilities, so every drop counts.
And since we’re talking about saving water, why not use greywater — wastewater generated in households — instead?
This could be any ‘used’ water — such as the water used to wash your rice, or the water you boiled your dinner in — or in my case, water from the fish tank.
While a self-watering planter can be easily purchased off online shopping websites like Shopee or Lazada, it’s really not that hard to fashion one out of scraps you probably have lying around the house.
Here are the three different types I have come up with.