How To Create Simple Garden Watering Wells

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Watering the vegetable garden can be a time consuming, monotonous activity for most gardeners. Getting up at the crack of dawn to water vegetable plants can get down right tiring after a while, not to mention dragging a garden hose all over creation. However, there are some nifty projects that you can implement within your garden that are very simple and inexpensive, and may save you some watering heartache.

Install A Watering Well… or Two… or Three

Before you jump to conclusions, I am not talking about digging a huge well on your property. The ones I will be discussing are quite a bit smaller and a lot less costly. The watering wells I am referring to are very simple to install in the garden. One type of watering well consist of a plastic flower pot, and some rocks.

Use one gallon or half-gallon size plastic flower pot, that have some nice drain holes in the bottom. Usually these pots will already have two to four holes in the bottom “corners”, and in the middle – like the one below.

You could also drill more holes in the bottom of the pot if needed, or drill a couple 1/4-inch holes in the sides of the pot to get to those roots even better. I wouldn’t drill too many holes in your watering wells though – you don’t want the water to empty very quickly. A steady, slow water stream is the best.

Use a Flower Pot With Drain Holes In The Bottom

Map out the places where you want to place the watering wells. The best method is to bury the watering well then plant the vegetables around the well. These watering wells work great for 4'x4' or 4'x8' raised garden beds, but can be used in all types of gardens.

Once you have decided where to use watering wells, dig a hole big enough for the pot to fit in. You want the rim of the pot to stick up above ground about 1/2-inch to an inch.

Flower Pot With Drain Holes

From time to time, set the pot in the hole to check your depth. Keep doing this until the depth is just right. Now fill in around the pot with soil. The watering well should look something like this.

Bury The Flower Pot Next To Vegetable Plant To Be Watered

Once the pots are buried where you want them, fill them with pea gravel, small river rocks, or aquarium rocks. The rocks will prevent beneficial insects from falling in and drowning, and keeps debris from falling into the pots, clogging up the holes. Here I am using some aquarium rocks that look really good and are the perfect size. A small bag will fill up a half-gallon pot, and cost around $3 per bag. You can use any type of rocks you wish.

Bury The Flower Pot Next To Vegetable Plant To Be Watered

You can now plant your favorite vegetable plants around your watering wells. The closer the plants are to the wells the better they will receive water. On average, planting plants 10 to 24 inches from the wells seems to work great. If the wells are closer then that’s even better. It really depends on what you are growing, and the needed space of that particular plant. You can use as many watering wells as you need.

Now that you have the watering wells arranged and the veggies are planted, you can fill the well with water or your favorite feeding solution. The watering well will slowly trickle the fluids into the plant’s root zone, supplying moisture where the plant needs it most and eliminating water run off. Refill the watering wells once or twice a week (possibly three times a week in very hot, dry conditions).

With some planning, these simple watering wells can make watering your garden effortless.

Keep Your Vegetable Garden Watered Well

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Comments

  1. When using grow lights,how many watts until there is no advantage? And, at what stage do I remove the grow light? Do the little plants need any darkness?

  2. Great idea, Tee, I’m going to try a couple of these in my garden. We use drip irrigation, but it’s hard to get enough water to the big zucchini plants with just drip irrigation and as you know they drink tons of water. I think I’ll put at least one of these centered between every two Zuch.

  3. Jack Smith says:

    I’m assuming that these rock-filled water wells will also attract butterflies, since they like to sip from shallow, rock-filled places.

    I may finally have some garden space soon, and have bookmarked this article.

    • Hi Jack – Yes, these rock-filled watering wells will help attract butterflies and provide them with a place to get water if it is full. With the drain holes in the bottom the water drains out within about 10 minutes or so. If you reduced the number of drain holes the water should stay in them a bit longer if you are interested in attracting butterflies.

      It’s a great point and thanks for bringing it up!

  4. Hi, I love this and I am planning on using this in the garden this year. I have 1 gallon pots. Would 1 pot between 2 tomato plants work or should each plant have it’s own pot? Also….because I have only top watered I have no idea… do I just fill it up once (a gallon of water) and go? I know hot spells would require extra watering, I just don’t know how much is generally required being so close to the roots. So sorry if these are silly questions, still a newbie here :) Love your site!

  5. While I like the decorative aspect of this, I have a very narrow garden space and not a lot of room. What we have done in other houses is bury gallon milk jugs with holes poked in them and just the top showing above the surface. Fill the jug and the veggies are watered at the roots. One for every 2 plants or one nestled in the center of a cluster of plants. Nice website. Will enjoy exploring your site.

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