New Watering Device Idea

We live on the top of a shale bank, so, of course, keeping water up here is a challenge.  A few days ago I noticed that my mint was looking a bit unhappy — the leaf edges were drying up and going white and it generally looked droopy.  Since this is the 2nd location for that plant — there were even worse problem in the last spot — I decided I needed to come up with a solution that would both confine the mint (so it won’t take over my garden) and give it a steady supply of water.

First I went off to Buckerfield’s and found a flexable plastic bucket (a Tubtrug) which they only had in bright blue, but, oh well.  It was about 18 inches across and 13 inches deep.  I took it home and started by cutting off the handles.

Next I went out and dug up the mint — which was also in a too-small pot — and enlarged the hole in the garden until I could sink the Tubtrug in it up to the rim.

Now the tricky part.  My idea was to put a ring of little holes around the Tubtrug a few inches up from the bottom.  This way the bottom would collect water, but the water would un out the ring of holes and keep the the soil above from getting too soggy.  I also had to bear in mind that the mint would be sending out questing roots looking for a way to travel to the rest of the garden, and I didn’t want to provide an easy way out. 

I ended up getting out my husband’s electric drill and using the 1/16″ drill bit.   Hopefully the holes are big enough they won’t clog up, and too small for mint roots.

Once I had my ring of holes, I put the Tubtrug back in the hole and added a couple of inches of assorted small rocks.

Next I found some 3″ PVC pipe leftover from some plumbing project.  I cut a piece about 15″ long, and put it in the Tubtrug so one end of the pipe was in the rocks on the bottom and the other was sticking up.  I put it to one side so it would be easily accessable from the path.  I put a cap on the pipe and a rock on that, to keep it from getting dirt inside.  Then I filled in and around the Tubtrug, planting the mint as I went. 

Now I had a buried Tubtrug filled with mint and a pipe sticking up on the side nearest the path.  If you look into the pipe, you can see the rocks on the bottom.

Next I got the hose and ran it into the pipe.  For the first while, it didn’t fill up, but when it finally did, I put a cap on the pipe to keep out mosquitos and junk and went away.  Later I came back and the water in the pipe was only a couple of incles deep.

So far, so good.  I filled the pipe up again and went away again.  Same result — the water was sitting at a couple of inches in the pipe when I returned.  I put the hose back and let it run slowly for a few minutes.  Abruptly I noticed that the soil all adound the pipe was seeping water — obviously the Tubtrug was full of water.  I turned off the water and went away.  An hour later the soil in the pot was wet but no longer soggy, and the water level in the pipe was down to about a couple of inches again.

PERFECT!  At least so far.  I put the cap back on the pipe and a rock on that to keep it there. 

Looking down on my mint pot. YOu can see the blue edge of the Tubtrug and the white piece of pipe. Ideally the pot and the pipe would be better colours. If this works out, maybe next time I make one I'll work harder on the colour issue.

That was Sunday, and today is Wednesday.  I have been checking the water level and it has been slowly dropping.  Today one of the little rocks in the botton is just showing above the water, so presumably there is less than 1″ of water in the Tubtrug.  The soil around the mint is still moist, and the mint looks happy.Now to wait and see if:1.  The mint is happy with the amount of water it is getting

2.  If the holes continue to work and don’t plug up

3.  If the mint stays in the pot or creeps out through the holes.

Stay posted!

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