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DIY self watering planter


From NZ Gardener magazine

Rose Hughes’ latest project will make container growing easier than ever.

You will need: 16m of 150mm x 25mm H3 dressed pine, 18m of 75mm x 25mm H3 dressed pine, 6m of 50mm x 50mm H3 dressed pine, 8g x 50mm screws, screwdriver with long and standard screwdriver bit, countersink bit, drop saw, jigsaw, clamps, sander/sandpaper, tape measure and pencil, wood filler, stapler, scissors, 3000mm x 2000mm black polythene or pond liner, 100mm x 1600mm weedmat, 110mm drainage pipe (perforated) 3 x 1360mm, 110mm x 5m filter sleeve, small length of 6mm clear vinyl tube and drill bit, garden hose off-cut approx. 30cm plus hose attachment, Resene Quick Dry Primer and test pots, brushes or small roller, masking tape.

Cutting lists: From the 150mm x 25mm: Ends – 8 x 600mm; and Sides – 8 x 1400mm. From the 50mm x 50mm: Posts – 12 x 540mm. From the 75mm x 25mm: Floor – 8 x 1360mm; Joists – 5 x 600; and Capping – 2 x 1400mm & 2 x 600mm.

Cost: $365 excluding paint, potting mix and plants.

To use: Attach a garden hose and gently fill the base until water comes out the overflow. The water will wick up through the potting mix as required and keep the planter watered. Check and refill as required.

Step 1Step one
Lay four of the 600mm boards flat on the workbench and, keeping the assembly square, screw two of the posts at each end and one centrally, with two screws into each board. Repeat for the 2 sides with two posts 340mm in from each end and one centrally.
Step 2Step two
Join together by matching the corners, clamp and screw through the end posts into the sides with two screws per board.
Step 3Step three
Mark each post at 340mm from the top, for the floor joists. Screw the joists to the posts.
Step 4Step four
Lay the floor boards, marking the cuts around the posts and cut out with the jigsaw. Screw into position.
Step 5Step five
Using a double layer of polythene or the pond liner, fit and attach at the top edge with staples. If using polythene ensure you don’t damage the lining. Mitre the corners of the capping boards. Drill, countersink and screw into position / fill the screw holes. Sand the whole planter well. Undercoat with Resene Quick Dry Primer and topcoat with Resene test pots – I used Resene Celebrate & Resene White.
Step 6Step six
Move the planter into position. Cover each length of the drainage pipe with filter sleeve and place carefully into the bottom of the planter. Pack potting mix around each.
Step 7 Step seven
Drill a hole through one end of the planter just above the height of the pipe and feed the vinyl tube through the hole and into the pipe to act as an overflow.
Step 8Step eight
At the opposite end of the planter, cut a hole at one end of an outside pipe for the garden hose. Insert the hose. Lay weedmat over the surface. Cut a hole and feed the garden hose through. Add the hose attachment. Fill the garden with potting mix and plant up.
Planter - finished photoFinished planter

Photos: Rose Hughes

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