Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A New Watering System

It is still pretty dry at Garden on Sherlock Street.  However, we have had a few showers and we aren't baking as much as last summer.

Two good things about not much mowing because the grass isn't growing and very few weeds as nothing wants to sprout right now. 

 Our city recently had two things happen which stressed our water supply.
1.  A major fire (thankfully no one was killed or injured).
2.  A water main burst near downtown because the ground is so dry it is shifting and the shifting put stress on an older water line which broke.

So, with anticipation of tighter watering restrictions in the near future, I've been experimenting with a way to water landscape plants if I can't use the faucets and soaker hoses.

I've seen many ways to use containers with holes in the bottom to let water leak slowly and soak in near a plant's roots.  Here's what I think will work for me.

I cut the spout off a milk jug. 

I wanted a large opening so I could pour water into it easily.

I put one small slit in the bottom corner under the handle.  I had many more and larger slits and holes in some I tested which let the water out way too fast.

The large opening also allows me to sit a clay pot in the milk jug.  The clay pot is needed as a weight to hold the jug in place once the water drains.  Without a weight, the empty jug would blow away in the wind.

I sit the jug next to a plant.  In this case a volunteer morning glory in the vegetable bed serves as the test plant.

Fill the jug with water and walk away.

It worked well.

My plan is to make a handful of these and move them to different plants each day using a bucket or two of bath water or rain water.  The plants may not thrive, but hopefully they'll survive to see a wetter growing season eventually.

Most of the vegetable garden has aqua cones in place for this type of watering.  They really help.  You can read about assembling the aqua cones in a previous post.

In other news, I have the tallest native annual sunflower I've ever grown.  The top flower is even with the gutter on the garage.  These are getting no extra water.

Garden on Sherlock Street continues to be an oasis for many birds.
This sweet dove wasn't even bothered by me working in the garden as she sat in the shade.

Chances of some good rain in our forecast!

I forgot to point out that we also have very few mosquitoes currently too.

My containers are blooming nicely and we're havesting veggies.  While we don't look lush and green, we are still a productive garden.


  1. I chuckled at your no mosquito reference. It's one of the best parts of living where I do---we rarely have them because it never rains in the summer.
    Those native sunflowers are nice. I'm trying some next year.
    Hope you get your anticipatd rain. I'm STILL waiting for some here. The rain tubs are empty now.

  2. Looks like a great system!! We have had just enough moisture over the last 2-3 weeks that I haven't watered anything extra. .and with the extra mulch I laid down. .Things seem to be holding out well. .I think the cooler temperatures have been helping!! We are also looking forward to some nice COOL temperatures. .and a good amount of moisture!!

  3. We're going through a very dry spell here as well and our rain barrels are running quite low. It stays quite humid here though and the rain chains in the front of our home directs droplets into a couple of areas that stay moist enough to need no worry at all. We've been waiting and watching for rain for a couple of weeks though.

    The use of the milk containers is perfect. I used to kind of do the same with 2 liter soda bottles. I would use just a big safety pin and poke about three holes at the bottom of the bottle and leaving the lid off, the water would trickle out slowly. We could move them about where we needed them.

    I always enjoy your posts. You have a great rest of the week and I'm hoping we both see some rain soon.

  4. You are being so creative with watering methods on Sherlock during drought times. So glad the fires did not hit your home. I wish I could bucket up some water and send to you as we have more then we know what to do with these days. That is a good thing for us though after a 4 year drought...

  5. I like your water jug idea. I may have to try that one myself!

    Like you, we've been dry, although almost everyone around us was getting rain. We finally broke through with decent moisture on Tuesday night - and now temps are supposed to be in the 80's for the next week. Such a great reprieve. I sure hope both the cooler weather and the rain comes your way too.

  6. I really like your watering system idea. I hope you will update us on how well it works. We have a rose that's trying to keep up with your sunflower.

  7. It's good that your veggies are atleast producing for you. It's a shame that you are again this year dealing with a water problem with what happened there.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  8. Seeing what you go through to water and then seeing some neighbors here.. wasting water...We should all be more conservative on water usage.
    That sunflower is wonderful...Have you ever grown a cup plant? A very tall perennial that has yellow flowers and where the leaves join together...a cup is formed. Birds and insects drink from the cups. A very interesting plant.

  9. I use half gallon milk jugs for watering my garden plants. Plants like tomatoes, peppers, squash, watermelons, and pumpkins. Each plant gets a jug with a couple of quarter inch holes drilled in the bottom. The jug is then buried in the ground with maybe three or four inches above the ground. The seeds or plants are then planted around or next to the jug. After the plants get well established, the cap is taken off the jug and water is filled to the top. Then the cap is put back on the jug. This allows the water to seep very slowly out the bottom encouraging the roots to grow deeper into the soil. Heavy mulch keep the ground moist. Works for me but the jugs can't be moved around like yours can.

    Have a great day in the garden.

  10. Very clever! I like how resourceful you are and hope you get enough rain to soak the ground and fill those rain barrels. :o)

  11. So, how are the milk jug deals working now? Did you keep them out when it rained? I love your sunflower! I enjoyed looking at your other posts between this and the current one.

    1. I left them outside. The water drained out. I did have to clean the hole on one. Mud clogged the hole.


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