Required Tools: All you need is a hot tool to poke holes in the plastic containers (milk jugs, juice bottles, nursery flats, etc) and a hot knife to cut a slot in the bottom side of the bottle(s) to allow free flow of water. There is no need for power tools, PVC tubing and complicated fabrication. For larger images, click on the pictures.
Recycled plastics (food containers, nursery flats) create the soil platform, soil wicks and water reservoir. Five milk containers are used here (about 2 1/2 gallon reservoir capacity). Cut large slots on the bottom side of the containers to allow water entry and poke holes in the top side for aeration and drainage of any excess water. An overflow drain hole (top center) prevents over watering. Recycled water bottles create a fill tube.
Potting mix (NO top soil) packed down between the recycled plastics creates the soil wicking system. The water from the reservoirs will rise by capillary action creating a uniform distribution of water throughout the bucket. Simply pour water down the fill tube until you see some water exit the overflow drain hole (top center).
The tote box lid with the center cut out makes a retainer for a sheet plastic mulch cover (not shown). Recycle the soil mix bag, black side up. This prevents weed growth and water evaporation.
One question about this system is the durability of the milk containers and the inverted nursery trays. How will they stand up through a growing season?
The designer, Mr. Hyland, requests that if you do try this design to please send feedback on your results. Once again, his website is Inside Urban Green.Here are some other pictures from Mr. Hyland using the same concept:
To make the fill tube, simply cut off the bottoms of plastic water or Coke bottles with a box cutter and stack them for any length fill tube.