Gardener planting in a raised garden bed
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The Budget-Friendly Raised Garden Bed Alternative You Can Easily DIY
Raised beds let you restrict water to your selected plants, create good soil drainage, and get around poor soil conditions. However, it’s expensive to buy extra soil to build them.
Instead, make a DIY self-watering system that provides the same benefits, but at a lower cost. These tubs avoid over- or underwatering, and they’re great if you have limited space.
You’ll need an old bucket, some empty milk jugs, and a PVC pipe. Drill a hole 5 inches above the bottom of the bucket, and holes around the top and bottom of each milk jug.
Place the jugs into the bucket, covering 80% of its bottom, and cap all of the jugs except one. These are your tanks that will fill with water and keep the soil moist.
Cut the PVC pipe to 2 inches longer than the bucket and at an angle to allow water to flow out easily. Stick the angled end into the uncapped jug, then fill the bucket with soil.
Put your plants in the soil above the jugs, and pour water through the pipe until the soil is saturated. Excess water will flow out through the hole you drilled in the bucket.
To ensure your reservoir is always full, regularly check if water is dripping out of the hole in the bucket. If it is, the tank is full; if not, add more water until it does.
This system lets the plants siphon up the water they need, while preventing overwatering. Also, the waterlogged container repels insects, and the dryer topsoil means fewer weeds.