Water Saver Sticks

2 Materials
$8
30 Minutes
Easy

I root feed and water my tomato plants. I use my DIY water saver sticks which I make out of old vacuum tubing and re cycled pop bottles. If I use plant food I mix it in with the water. Mix it well so it won't block the holes in the bottle cap
I put 3 or 4 sections  of old vacuum  hose the heard sections  beginning with the pointed part called the crevice tool. I got all these parts at my thrift store over the winter. As you can see the crevice part is cross drilled in at least 3 places.
I then go pound it in the ground by my tomato plant ,then pull it out and pound out all the dirt that had filled up the pipe. I then wrap it with a piece of nylon screen and wrap 2 rubber bands around it. I have added some other thing to this picture so if you don't have a scrap of screen you could use some netting or cut open a bath scrunch Just use something that will let the water out and keep the dirt from plugging up the holes and the bottom opening of the crevice tool .  When you open up that bath scrunch ,you will only need a little ,but save the rest It is great to tie tomatoes or cucumbers up with it. Is soft ,but strong.
Re cycle some large pop bottles  You see one of this is miss shaped ,I wanted you to see that some times as you water with this water saver stick ,the bottle will miss shape .That's ok just after all the water is out of the bottle ,take the cap off and blow air in the bottle.
next you will need to drill holes in the cap 4to5 holes work best. Then with the water saver stick in place, by your tomato plant .you will need to pound it in I set a folded wash rag over the end before I start pounding ,so as I pound it won't crack the plastic Remember the screen covered wand end it what needs to be going down in the ground YOU water saver stick must be pounded in well. I some times need to pound and extra garden stick in next  to the water saver stick. I use a little bungee cord  to wrap them together.  You will know if you have it in well ,because when you put the water filled pop bottle in place ,it might move or shift .You will have to re set it to get it in titer .OK  you are ready for water
Do you see the cap is on the bottle it was drilled out I made the water light blue ,just so you could see it You don't need to make you water blue just regular tap water from the kitchen sink . Tomatoes don't like real cold water.
Again the water is blue just to show up better in the picture The water is in the bottle the drilled out cap is on the bottle and the bottle is turned up side down into the water saver stick. IF you don't put a cap on the bottle and you put in place it will run out to fast . it can take 5 to 15 minutes for the water to drain out. If you don't see water bubbles start to move in the up side down bottle .just give the bottle a little pinch that will get thing going. Remember the bottle may draw in on it self that's ok just blow air back in the bottle after it's done watering. You are root watering.




Your tomatoes will love you for this.  I have to double stack my tomato caged because some years my tomatoes are 5 to 6 feet tall . The roots get so big and healthy this way ,you should get a bumper crop. No water run off away from the plant ,it's all doing it's watering under ground. Years ago when I first did this project I used PVC pipe from Lowes I took a bottle cap with me and made sure that it would fit in the opening of the PVC pipe. I stopped using the PVC  because I can add sections of the vacuum tubing  to my water saver stick  With the PVC I was stuck with what ever size I cut it .With my some times crazy tomato plants I would need longer pipe. Then I would need to get more and re cut. So I switched .IT took me all winter to get all the pieces I thought I would need from the thrift store . What ever you use 4foot PVC or vacuum tubing remember to cover the end you are pounding on with a folded wash rag  so the plastic won't get fractures in it ,as you pound it in place People ask me how often do you water this way .It depends on the weather ,how hot it is and so on. IN the area I live in Oregon in a normal summer every 2 or 3 days I stick my finger down in the ground by my tomato plant to see if it's damp or not This water saver stick or rain is the only way my plants get water. I only have 3 plants.  I am just a home gardener

Suggested materials:

  • Hard tubing from vacumms  (thrift store find)
  • Re cycled pop bottles  (Had at home)

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Lana Shepherd
    on Jul 12, 2017

    How did you know you needed longer pipe?
  • Mft20381944
    on Jul 12, 2017

    What do use use for a mailbox planter? I saw plant spikes that connect to a water bottle on Amazon but cannot find in any store
    mftorn @aol.com
    • Sherry B.
      on Jul 26, 2017

      I first watered my plant thoroughly. Then take a stick and make my hole for my tube. This keeps the hole from refilling due to being wet. I used a drill and put a lot of holes in the plastic tube, 6 inches from bottom and downward. I would fill the tube with water twice, every other day. Also, before planting, put a plastic bowl in center near bottom of pot to retain water, then fill with soil.
  • Cindy
    on Jul 13, 2017

    Why do you need your watering sticks to be so long? Wouldn't you get the same effect with a much shorter vacuum stick?
    • Angie Waldner
      on Jul 13, 2017

      Hi most years it works to have a shorter stick ,but other years My plants are 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide .I never know What size I need Until I have the stick pounded in the ground by my plant .So if needed, I can add a piece of vacuum tubing to the stick I never have it longer than 4 feet Tall. I would not be able to add the upside-down water bottle to the stick ,with out standing on stool. It is up to you ,what works well for you. The sticks look long in the picture ,because it was sitting on a bench ,for the picture. Also remember part of what you see is in the ground by the plant. Happy gardening.

Join the conversation

3 of 33 comments
  • Angie Waldner
    on Jul 24, 2017

    I am so happy for you. Stick your finger down in the ground by the tomato plant ,you will be able to see, or feel if the soil is wet. below ground. IN Mexico ,witch is the location for most of the tomatoes we get in the store .The tomatoes don't get a lot of water. I think with not watering every day you will get less green plant and more ripe tomatoes. When I see my tomatoes just starting to turn a yellow color before they turn red I start add in a little sugar to the water ,in the pop bottle. WOW that makes the tomatoes taste great. Just a little sugar in the water one time a week OH I bet people are surprised when they see the size of your plants. We have not had rain in 35 days. Temps in mid 80 to low 90
    • Bernice H
      on Jul 31, 2017

      Hi...well you are our neighbor...we are in woodburn,senior living! Isn't this a beautiful place to live? We just moved here 6 months ago..made it through all the "unusual" rain...it has been beautiful ,until this week...going to be very hot! I may incorporate this idea next year,this year we are just watching to see what comes up. Hostas are not doing as well as the surprise giant lilies! Do they stay green all summer? Not the day lilies,but the big beautiful ?peace? Lilies? I think our Dirt here is hard packed sand too. But I have been enjoying seeing what comes up. Hubs is using sprinklers 5 minutes a day..do you think that needs to be increased? Most neighbors are notwatering,their lawns are dry and brown. We don't have good grass either....oh well...next year..too much remodeling to do right now.🌺😜

  • Angie Waldner
    on Jul 31, 2017

    Hi Neighbor Do you have AC in your place? if so be sure to clean your filter in your Heater /ac This will help your Ac not work so heard. I use a Shop blower it is like a little leaf blower We don't have long heat spells like this . This is just a on going of our crazy year. I love this area to live. We were away for 20 years My husband was in the Navy ,but we came back. IF you don't have AC one of my posts was how to use a box fan and a frozen bottle of water to work to cool down the air. Please take care in our up coming heat.
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