Water Saver Sticks
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
- Hard tubing from vacumms (thrift store find)
- Re cycled pop bottles (Had at home)