Saturday, June 27, 2009

Self-Watering Planters- an update to EarthTainers™

This is an update on How to make an EarthTainer™, or self watering Planters (SWP's) after the official SWP'S or EarthTainer™, is the version I make from 5 and 3 gallon buckets

Amazing what you can find on the internet. Here is a self watering container for gardening found at TomatoFest. I have seen similar containers in the stores for $35-$50. It only costs between $18-$25 to make one of these yourself- and here they are giving away the secret for free!
How to make an EarthTainer™ planter as seen at
Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
And the printed instructions
All that Gary from TomatoFest and Ray, the EarthTainer™ Inventor ask is that you make a voluntary contribution to the Feed The Children organization
UPDATE: I made an EarthTainer™ out of two five gallon buckets- Those are FREE! I simply followed the same design principle and voila! My first EarthTainer™ I promise I will post a pic in the near future!

Photo Update: my EarthTainer with garlic scapes!

A few have commented on my SWP's, and a few more have sent me emails asking how to make them. Well luckily I had one more Pepper to transplant so I needed to make one. The actual idea comes from Gary Ibsen's Tomatofest website, where they are called EarthTainers™. He and his friend Ray,(the original inventor of the EarthTainer™) ask that if you use their design that you simply make a donation to Feed the Children. Since I basically use the same directions- no problem. I just wanted a free or cheaper way of making the SWP's instead of buying roughneck totes to make them. Cheap Veggie Gardner should appreciate this stinginess thriftiness.
Anyway if you don't want to look at the videos, here is how I make SWP's
First I get 2 buckets in this case a 5 gallon and a 3 gallon bucket. You can get these from restaurant type places- just ask! (Thanks Wah Kue Café!)
Then in one bucket cut a hole big enough for a plastic planter or a tomato can to fit in this case I am using a galvanized steel planter I had laying around. If you have access to hole saws this is easy. Or use a jig saw. A jab saw or drywall saw will work as well, This time I used a jigsaw.

Then make a hole towards the side of the same bucket big enough to fit a piece of PVC Tubing through.

Then drill some holes in your tomato can or planter.
Most buckets will fit together leaving about 2" of room between the two buckets- I don't have to worry here as I am using a 3 gallon and a 5 gallon This is good as the bucket will have some room between the upper bucket –or planter and the 2nd bucket or “reservoir”. If it doesn’t HAve this lip or the top bucket goes all the way down simply insert a brick or a couple of rocks in the bottom bucket to raise the top bucket.
That done, drill a hole in the bottom bucket, taking note where the top bucket’s bottom is. Drill the hole just below the bottom of the top bucket. Put the PVC tubing in the hole you made for it.
. . Now fill it with about two cups of soil into your tomato can/planter, fill with water.
Fill the rest of the top bucket with soil and make sure to water a bit between layers of soil or compost. Until it is full and wet. Some times I rip up old t-shirts and make a “wick” throughout the planter. But I have seen no evidence yet in the planters I have done this to that it is any better than letting the soil “wick” the planters. Then plant your plant or seeds in it. When watering fill the bottom bucket through the PVC tube until water comes out the drain hole you drilled. You now have a Self watering planter! Very nice if your forget for a day to water or you go out of town for a weekend. Saves on water as well. If you like you can cut the lid to the bucket, leaving only a ring, then take a garbage bag or you can use a plastic shopping bag put over the bucket and snap your ring on- works as a mulch cover!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to make Italian and French Sodas

This is from The Wisegeek Website:

"Customers at gourmet coffee shops may notice a cold beverage option called an
Italian soda, also known as a creamosa or French soda in different parts of the
world. An Italian soda is a refreshing combination of flavored syrup and club
soda or seltzer water mixed in a cup of ice. The addition of half-and-half or
milk turns an Italian soda into a creamosa or French soda. Some coffeehouses add
a dollop of whipped cream to an Italian soda to create a creamier texture."

First take some sparkling water or seltzer water, some ice in a glass, and about 1/2 to 1 jigger of your favorite flavored syrup
Pour the water into the glass. Leave room to add the syrup. Some like adding the syrup first. It is a matter of taste!
Add the syrup!

Add a jigger of cream or milk ( or in this case Rice milk) to make it a french soda aka a "creamosa"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to make Your own Snocones!

Summer is here and time for a refreshing treat. To me summer means street fairs, and snowcones. I recently was playing around with my Cuisin Art and crushed some ice. And I had been watching a shaved ice vendor at the Burien Farmers' Market. I put two and two together , and came up with this recipe- You don’t need and Ice crusher or any other fancy gismos. All you need is a Cuisin Art or a blender and some syrup:

About 2 cups of Ice cubes
Some type of flavored syrup

Put ice cubes into a cuisine art or blender.
Pulse for about a minute.
Until Ice is crushed smooth

Scoop ice into a martini glass or cup.
Pour syrup (about 1 jigger or one ounce) over the top. Enjoy!

Note: I used TORIANI SUGAR FREE SYRUP (raspberry flavor), I would imagine you could use any flavored syrup. But using sugar free makes it a guilt free treat!
TOMORROW- Italian and French Sodas!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to grow Sweet potato Slips

I was cruising the internet, and I came up on how to grow sweet potatoes. Now I grow potatoes in the condo but this interests me very much I am gonna have to try this. Here is the article, by Gary Nelson on from "Flower and Garden" magazine

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How to make a collapsible table

Ever want a little table when you go for picnic or a concert in the park? well MarshW came up with this neat diy Collapsible Table on Super easy to make, I made one. My variations: I used PVC Lattce strips instead of hardwood, except I used 1X2 pine for the crossbrace. And I made up a pvc leg Instead of doing the legs real nice like he did.

I simply ran a 10-4 bolt through a pvc threaded cap then throught the 1X2 and made sure it was long enough to go throught the table

The final result - a neat little table for car shows, picnics, concerts in the park
The best part? It all rolls up to go to the next outing!
I would say that if I make another table, I will make it entirely out of 1X2 pine, and I will follow directions on the legs or use actual furniture legs. But I am happy with my table!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

One More Planter from Found Stuff

Cilantro in a container made from a plumbing part

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Planters from found stuff- Part III

I took two of the most hideous lamps ever, took them apart, reassembled and made two planters
for patio tomatoes