Like everyone living in a burb, I don’t have much appropriate space for gardening. I did try to grow a couple things in containers last year, but the exercise was more about teaching a three year old “This is how we get food” than “Let’s endeavor become self-sufficient.” So while I’m not a complete gardening virgin, the only thing I’m sure I’ve mastered is that I know how to kill a plant.
I live in southern Ontario. You may think, hey Canada is supposed to be cold, but the truth is for a short time it also gets very, very hot. This is a major challenge for container gardens, and yes, all of my three plants did die horrible deaths due to under-watering.
Sooo… after a bit of researching, I came across the concept of a self-watering container (also known as a sub-irrigated planter, or SIP). EarthBox makes a fairly idiot-proof model, and there are many more “how-to-make” videos and guides using Rubbermaid containers. My beef with both of these is that they are made of plastic, and plastics are one of those things that I’m trying to get away from so much exposure to.
Then I found one made of cedar. The plan is at Build Your Own Self-Watering Planter – Step by Step | The Family Handyman.
Perfect! I cried, and promptly ran to the nearest lumber yard. I’ve been working on collecting materials for it in my spare hours the last couple of days, with a few modifications… 1) No PVC. I’ve switched the fill-pipe to a piece of copper. 2) I’m going to treat the cedar with a natural sealant. After some research on availability and its relative safety for human consumption, I chose raw linseed oil.
Boiled linseed oil and thermopolymerized linseed oil is different from raw, and they are not safe for consumption. Be careful about mixing these up. I found raw linseed oil at the hardware store.
I also wanted to find a non-plastic substitute for the drainage pipe in the bottom, but so far no luck. We’ll work towards finding an alternative next go around.
I will be posting pictures along the way!