compost bin / garden waterer

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Project by scottb posted 06-07-2009 08:26 PM 3276 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I got this idea, I think from the letters section of Mother Earth News. Someone put a bin out in the garden, poked some holes in the bottom, (flowing outward, not down) filled it with kitchen scraps (over time), and every morning poured a bucket of water in it.

The water would flow out the holes, taking nutrients with it, and it was all the tomatoes (or whatever was planted closely around it) needed. In fact (if I remember correctly) they couldn’t keep up with all the veggies (well, fruit). this idea had the plants hide the container, so it wasn’t so much as eyesore. I already had these 1/2 barrels, and putting an 18 gallon bin from the BORG, fit the bill perfectly. And looks way better.

I took that concept, and added tubing for better reach of the tomatoes in my raised bed. So now it’s placed off to the side, rather than dead center, taking up valuable planting space. It’s convenient to the kitchen, as well as not shading anything. (Yeah, I know the lilacs aren’t helping, but they aren’t hindering too much. Last year I watered by hand (and we had a LOT of rain) so it wasn’t so bad, the rock mulch in the bed at the time helped keep weeds down, but switching to shredded leaves this year is proving to be much better at weed control and will help the soil. That and I won’t worry about anything cooking when it gets really hot in August.

Running the tubes – 1/2 inch foodgrade tubing (the kind used for icemakers) is connected with 3/8 T connectors and is staked down with clipped coat hangers – under the mulch, takes the water directly to the plants that need it. Which will also help with keeping weeds down, and now the lilacs will have to fight for whatever nature provides them.

Our roses are doing splendidly on their own, most things we have do. My kind of garden. I’m only here to keep stuff at bay, to hold it back – like the forsythia or the lawn.

This used to be a flower bed, there still is the errant bulb to not encourage. You can’t eat the flowers, (well, there are nasturtiums in there) Everything else has moved to the edges of the yard This is prime real estate. Almost exclusively the domain of things for the pantry and table. (I didn’t move the lilacs in time, as their space isnt “ready” yet. (I need fill in a few locations to level things off)

One of the three main lines from the barrel needs to be forked and directed at the cherry tomateos (Organic Sweetie) I planted yesterday. Othewise you can see, or rather not see, the tubing that should help simplify my watering chores this season… add this to the self-watering containers I made last year, and soon the garden will be working for me.

-- southern NH. - smack dab in the middle of 5a and 5b - with lots of shade and full sun, in all the wrong places.

View scottb's profile


214 posts in 3755 days
hardiness zone 5

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compost bin watering self watering

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9 comments so far

View GrandmaT's profile


5389 posts in 3755 days
hardiness zone 9

posted 06-07-2009 10:38 PM

What a great idea Scott!!!

-- "A beautiful garden is a work of heart" --

View MsDebbieP's profile


14694 posts in 3877 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-08-2009 04:56 AM


-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View mario1360's profile


921 posts in 3292 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 06-08-2009 07:59 AM

wow too cool….

-- south shore montreal, zone 5a, whish it was 9

View dini's profile


1591 posts in 3593 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 06-08-2009 08:20 AM

Acompost tea self-waterer! What a neat idea!. I just might have to steal that one.

-- the day you quit learning is the day you quit living.

View jroot's profile


5121 posts in 3507 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 06-10-2009 07:58 AM

Super idea, Scott. Anything to make the garden less labour intensive, ... as we mature. I like it.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View Napaman's profile


51 posts in 3432 days

posted 06-12-2009 03:08 PM

great idea…

-- Matt

View DavesYard's profile


304 posts in 2933 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-17-2010 08:55 PM

Genius! I may try this myself.

View StarrsWife's profile


36 posts in 2960 days
hardiness zone 7

posted 02-18-2010 02:02 AM

I really LOVE this idea, and it looks simple enough that someone that is “not so handy” could still do it, WOW!

I would love to post pics of my projects, but the one I did turned out HUGE and took up my whole post, so I haven’t posted any more at all…:( could you by chance clue me in as to how you managed your little pic do hicky up there on this page ;) I like how it has the pics small on the side and you can click on the one you want to see…..

-- Jessica~ Oklahoma zone 7 “A genius always presents himself as a fool” ~Anon.

View DavesYard's profile


304 posts in 2933 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-18-2010 09:53 AM

Jessica, to showcase a bunch of pictures, you need to start a new project. Click “My GardenTenders” at the top right of the page, then click “New Project”. This will allow you to put up to 6 pictures for your project. If you want to post more pictures underneath, create an account on then upload your images. The simply use the “Insert Image” button from the project window, to link to your pictures.

Let me know if you need any more help, and good luck!

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