Self Watering Planting Boxes

Hi, this is a rundown on how I made some self watering veggie boxes (based on this very inspirational man and his family (

What you need

  • Polystyrene boxes (I sourced these for free from the local fruit and veggie shop)
  • Some PVC downpipe (I get these from skips at building sites) These are great sources for garden/building etc material, as so much good stuff is thrown away
  • A hacksaw
  • A dogfood can
  • Some good potting mix
  • Some old papers
  • Plants (or seeds)

All of this cost me about $30 (for the seedlings, manure and potting soil)


I used two methods, one detailed in Roman’s blog post, and the other which I found on gardening websites (as I had two boxes with holes in the bottom and no lids).

Method 1

For the first method, I put the holey boxes in a sunny spot and filled the bottom with some torn up paper to about 6 inches (a great use for old bills/bank statements etc that you don’t want to throw away because of sensitive information. I had soaked these in water overnight)

I then filled the boxes with soil (from the bottom of the garden), cow manure (matured) and potting mix.

Method 2


I had four identical polystyrene boxes (broccoli boxes). I used two as bases and put them to the side. For each of the top boxes, I used a dog food can to mark three holes.


I then cut out the holes with a mini hacksaw.

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Then I measured the distance between the bottom of the base box and a bit higher than the top, and cut three sections of PVC guttering to fit.


I pushed these into the holes in the box (it is better that they are a tight fit)

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I then filled the holes with gravel (from the bottom of the garden, it had a lot of existing mulch)


I stuck in a longer section of pipe, so I could fill up the base of the box, then added torn bills and stuff to the bottom, above the gravel. I then started to fill the box up with garden soil, manure, compost and potting mix.

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Ready for planting!

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The new veggies! I put in Kale, Carrots, Asian lettuce mix and Bok Choy.

I’ll update on how they are going, and compare the results between Method 1 and 2.


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