Friday, June 27, 2008

Plant Water Bottles and Three Sisters

My plants are spoiled. I like to make plant water bottles using plastic water and sports drink bottles with the bottom cut out. I stick the neck of the bottle into the ground and put a stick through the hole to keep the bottle from blowing away. I then put a cup or so of earthworm castings or compost into the bottle. I water through this. The compost/earthworm castings slow the water down and the plant gets a shot of compost/worm casting tea. The water is delivered directly to the roots and there is no run off. The roots also seem to stay moist longer.

Here is a tomato plant with it's own personal water bottle.

My three sisters row has taken off. Planted together are squash, popcorn, and red noodle beans. The beans grow up the corn and the squash grows low and shades everything. I went ahead and put large tripod made of bamboo in to help support everything. In the picture above, the tripod fell over. This has turned into yet another lush jungle in my backyard. It very effectively hides me from the monkeys.
I was thinking this kind of planting wasn't' going to work. Last week I gave everything some earthworm castings and they just took off. All of my veggies get a weekly foliar feeding with a diluted organic liquid plant food. A close look revealed that the squash is putting on fruit. The varieties so far are round and striped zucchini.
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  1. This is great, Debbi! I use my gallon milk jugs in the greenhouse when they start to leak and can't be used for watering any more--I set them down next to the tomatoes, artichokes, etc. and let them drip additional water to the roots. But I hadn't thought of putting compost inside first! And boy, those earthworm castings really make a difference, don't they? Yowie zowie!!! Your "three sisters" plot looks fantastic. I think the round zukes are adorable, don't you? What kind of corn did you plant?

  2. HI ofb, and thanks. The pop corn is calico and strawberry. I am starting two more mounds with yard long beans, Earlivee corn and more mixed squash. Yes, worm castings rock.

  3. That is a brilliant idea. I will try that tomorrow. I have never used earthworm castings before, but I will try it. Also, a great recycling option for the bottles. I read in "We Made a Garden" by Marjorie Fish that she would make a tea from manure and water in a bucket. Your versions a bit less smelly!Also you really direct the good stuff right to the plant. great idea, Deb.

  4. Just w-h-e-r-e do you find all the time to do all that you do? You have kids at home, don't you? I don't think I could have managed all you do when I was in your shoes!

  5. Hi phillip thanks for stopping by. Hope you have good results with the water bottle.

    Hi Brenda, I don't feel like I ever get anything done.

  6. I agree this is a great idea! It's like your own drip system with a fertilizer line thrown--and the fact that it's a use of recycled materials makes it even more brilliant!

  7. Hi Debbi - great minds think alike - I do the same too! They say a pint at the roots is worth a gallon on the soil. Makes perfect sense, particularly if water's scarce.

  8. Deb, I have a three sisters garden in my plans for next year. I can't wait to get started! Yours looks so lush and nice. The water bottle idea is great!

  9. shala I don't know if y'all have trouble with squash bugs there. They are horrible here. This planting seems to have tricked them. I have seen maybe two and they were by themselves instead of stuck together.