Home By Dawn Super Simple DIY Self Watering Herb Garden

 

I have been wanting to grow my own herbs for quite awhile now, but have been a little intimidated by it. I’ve never grown herbs before and know that some can be finicky when it comes to watering.

However, after seeing many ideas for “self-watering” herb gardens, I decided to give it a try. Many versions use wine or other glass bottles, but for the trial run I decided to go with less expensive and easier to cut, 2-liter pop bottles.

 

Pop bottles made into self-watering herb planters because herbs can be finicky about water, take the guess work out of herb gardening and watch them thrive!

 

They came together really quickly and required simple materials that you may already have on hand.

Just four materials to make these self-watering herb planters:

– 2 liter soda bottles (or whichever size you choose to use)
– cotton string, twine, or even strips of a cut up t-shirt (just make sure it is cotton so that it properly absorbs the water)
– soil
– seeds

You should have seen my daughter’s eyes as I put these in the cart at Walmart! “Do we get to drink that!?!”

 

Herbs can be finicky about water, take the guess work out of herb gardening and watch them thrive in these self-watering planters!

 

The Herbs:

I decided to plant Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Cilantro, Parsley and romaine lettuce (not an herb, but wanted to give it a try :) It was also nice that Walmart had organic seeds if that is important to you.
Herbs can be finicky about water, take the guess work out of herb gardening and watch them thrive in these self-watering planters!

Steps to create the Self-watering Planters:

I let my kids have a little of the soda before dumping out the bottles, rinsing them, peeling off the labels and cutting them in half (a white strip of the label remained on each bottle…I probably could have found a way to remove it, but have I mentioned lately that I have four kids age five and under? I was trying to get this done before their show was over and they found me ;). I used a knife to start a hole and then a scissors to finish the cut.

 

Herbs can be finicky about water, take the guess work out of herb gardening and watch them thrive in these self-watering planters!

Next, make your wicks. I used cotton twine from Walmart. I used six strands in each of the wicks, but now, after testing the containers, 3 or 4 would have been plenty. Then tie a knot about two inches from one end (you can test it in your bottle to make sure that it touches the bottom of the water reservoir.
Herbs-Wicks

Next, drill holes in the caps of the bottles. The size will depend on what type of wick you are using. For my cotton string wicks, my husband drilled holes that were about 1/4″ in diameter.

 

Herbs-Caps-with-holes

Then put one wick through each cap.

 

Herbs-cap-with-wick

 

And then return the caps to the tops of the bottles, and place the tops of the bottles upside down on their corresponding bottoms. Did I mention how simple and easy these herb planters are??? :)

 

Herbs-wick-in-bottle

 

Next, fill each top about 1/3 of the way with soil. I’m using a bag of Miracle Grow Potting Mix ($5.97 at Walmart…this isn’t sponsored by Walmart, it is just the closest retailer to our house :) Each bottle only holds about 2 cups of dirt, so we hardly put a dent in this big bag, you don’t need much.

 

Herbs-Dirt-Partial

 

They found me…I think they could smell the dirt…If you’re feeling brave, let the kids help :)


 

Herbs-Kids

 

Then spread out the strands of the wick and continuing filling. I stopped about an inch below the top, I didn’t want them to get too full.

 

Herbs-Wick-Placement

 

Then, when they are all filled, plant your seeds and add water to the base. The amount of water that you can see in the containers below (three inches or so) lasted almost two weeks. As the plants grow, and as they are placed outside in the sun, they will use more.
Herbs-add-water

 

And then wait…and in a week, look what we have! The lettuce was the first to appear, the others were a little slower (the packages say that they all take 7-14 days for germination).  I made these as a birthday gift for my aunt, so unfortunately I don’t have a picture of them when they were more mature.

 

Herbs-Growing

 

You’ll notice that some appear wetter on top then others, if they seem like they are drawing up too much water, just clip off a couple of strands going down to the water. And don’t worry if the top is dry as long as water is disappearing from the bottom. As the plants grow, the roots will find their way to the wick, so the top doesn’t have to be wet for them to get all of the hydration they need.

Bonus step:

Talk the sweet carpenter in your life into making a crate or box to put them in. This time of year, the weather is still highly unpredictable in Minnesota, so the crate allows for them to be easily taken inside or out.

 

Herbs-Box

 

Once the seedlings appear, make sure to thin them according to the directions on the package.

 

Herbs-Final

 

And there you have it! Just keep water in the base and never wonder if your herbs are getting the right amount of water :)

I’m going to make another set to have at my house, I’ll be sure to post more pictures of how they grow and adjustments to the process if need be.

I had to read several (several) tutorials to get the complete picture of how these work, if I missed any steps, or if you have a question or suggestion, please leave it in the comments.

I also found this article very helpful once your herbs get growing and you want to start using them: 10 Mistakes New Herb Gardeners Make

Happy herb growing!

DW-Signature
 

This post featured HERE!

 

Let’s keep in touch:

Subscribe

 

 

Most Popular right now:

>> The Laundry System that changed my life
>> 3 Hour Palette wood pet & baby gate
>> 7 Ways to help your struggling reader



Author
Dawn
A graphic designer & marketer by trade, I left the traditional working world in 2012 to stay home with my four kids. I love being home, but am glad to still have opportunity to design professionally and for fun and to share my ideas here from time to time. A country girl at heart, I live with my husband and four kids (5, 3, 2 and infant) just outside of the Twin Cities and only a few miles from my parent’s farm.
25 replies to this post
  1. Hi Dawn (and friends)! Thank you so much for sharing this super idea at Thriving on Thursdays. What a great tutorial and a fantastic idea. I’m definitely going to try this. I’m featuring this one at tomorrow’s party. Hope to see you again.

    Anne xx

  2. We love growing herbs, especially from seed. Nice idea. We are so glad you shared with us at Merry Monday! I’m looking forward to your newest additions to the party next week!

  3. What a great idea! Love the crate that would make it so easy to carry in or out or to just move around your yard. I was going to do herbs in the garden but as a beginner I wasn’t sure if I would know what was an herb and what was a weed (we have a very weedy garden lol) so this is perfect!! Now to get some bottles! Thanks for linking with the creative challenge party!!

  4. Fan-blooming-tastic! What a brilliant use of old pop bottles (really hoping my English expressions translate ok – I think this is a really good idea to use old plastic bottles!)

  5. I had seen this with wine bottles, but want to do it with my kids, so 2-liter bottles are a much better idea, and bigger, too :)

What do you think? Please join in!