During the covid times, I developed a new hobby: gardening. My small flat is full of indoor plants and my balcony is overflowing with outdoor ones. I talked about it in my Plants obsession article, but honestly, my collection of plants has multiplied since then.
It was all good. I was happy watering my plants and chilling a lot.
But then they eased the covid restrictions and we were finally able to enjoy a glimpse of pre-covid life. Aka: Travel. Suddenly I was met with another dilemma: what do I do with my plants now when I’m gone for a while?
The first big plants’ challenge came in last week.
Right after my First Post-Covid trip to Dresden Germany, I traveled home to Slovakia for over a week as it was my mum’s 50th birthday. This meant that my plants would be without me for the first time since their existence in my flowery apartment. Some would be ok without water for a week for sure, but some require more attention and love so I had to figure something out.
Naturally, I could have asked some friends to just come and water my plants. But as a super self-sufficient, independent woman who hates asking others for help if there is even a tiny possibility I could make it on my own, this was the very last option.
I even have some self-watering pots but not for all of my plants.
So I googled a lot and found one solution that was repeating among different websites: Natural cord.
Supposedly you put one end into the water container, the other one into your plant and it’s gonna slowly water itself.
It sounds like a logical and simple self-watering system enough for me to try.
I was super busy the whole week. Saturday was the day of my trip to Germany and on Sunday I was traveling home.
Of course, I left buying a cord until the very last minute. I genuinely thought it’s an item you can find in the regular supermarket and I happen to have one small shop right next to my flat.
Of course, they were sold out so I was left without my one self-watering solution for my many plants so I took the closest thing to it I could find.
I got a thick ass rope you use to hang washed wet clothes to dry on. See the picture.
By all means, it was supposed to spread the water just the same but it looked ridiculous.
I took the 2 biggest pots I had and filled them full with water. Two because I separated my plants into 2 groups: indoors and outdoors.
I had to smash them all close together so I don’t have ropes hanging all over my flat.
Google said to put my water container on an elevated platform so the gravity will do the rest and I did. I put them both on tables and placed my plants on the ground all around it.
Then I cut my rope into smaller pieces and hung one end into the water pot. For the indoor plants, I tied the water ends together just to see if there would be any difference from the outdoor ones that were just hanging loosely in the pot. I pressed the other end deep into the soil using a wooden chopstick to implement it properly. It was a quite fun but really odd process.
I repeated the same with the outdoor plans but very soon I realized I don’t have enough rope- or better yet- I have way too many plants.
Buying another rope was too much considering I didn’t know if it’s gonna work at all. But I did see an option online that used a simple cloth instead of a cord. Great chance to compare.
Recently I ripped grey sweatpants so I just cut a long strip from the ruined pants and place one end to the water pot and the other to the rest of my plants.
I could see the rope and cloth getting wet right away and slowly moving the water throughout the whole length of it. I was able to readjust some parts to ensure proper watering to each plant.
Still, I was hoping for rainy weather so at least the outdoor plants would get more water. Indoor ones are pretty low maintenance so that should have been ok. But I was most worried about my 5 big tomatoes cuz I’m really hoping for a proper harvest soon.
So I installed this super self-watering system and left for over a week- from Sunday till next Thursday.
I had a good time at home but I kept thinking about my plants.
How are they doing? Is it working? What if the ropes fell and it was all for nothing? What if the rain got too heavy and dropped some flowerpots down? Would there be enough water for all of them?
Finally, I came back and got answers to all of my questions.
Most importantly: The self-watering system worked.
The indoor plants were totally fine. They drank the whole pot of water and the rope was completely dry when I arrived. Many of them grew new leaves and generally looked perfectly fine.
The only one that dried off was hydrangea, but she’s so needy so I was expecting that.
What I didn’t expect was how damaged my table would become. As the wet roped kept touching the table for over a week the wood absorbed plenty of moisture and it got so damp.
The outdoor plants clearly needed much more water. Even though it rained in Prague, it clearly wasn’t enough for all of them or for my pot to get refilled with rainy water.
It must have been really windy as one tomato pot got thrown over and made a mess on the balcony. All of the tomatoes were fine though. Still green and not red yet but we’re getting there.
Most of the plans were ok but they could have used much more water.
I’m just worried that because of the thickness of the rope I used, they all drank the whole pot in a couple of days, and then were left to dry.
I think the simple thin natural cord would be perfect as the water time management would be better. Next time for sure.
But the rope was much better than the cloth as the cloth caught unhealthy greenish color in the end.
There was no difference between tied ends of the ropes and loose ones so do as you please.
I’m definitely gonna use this self-watering system for my plants in the future as it rocks.
Totally recommending it.