Low Tech Drip Irrigation

leaking bucket, low tech drip irrigation, use for cracked bucket

A year or two ago we purchased a bunch of plastic buckets from a box store. Within a few months more than half of them had split and cracked across the bottom, making them useless for watering livestock or carrying water.

They’re still usable for carrying solids. I also use cracked or leaky buckets for harvesting produce which might accumulate leaking juices and cause spoilage. I turn some such buckets into planters, but my favorite use for them is watering trees and shrubs. A cracked, leaky bucket is a great tool for low tech drip irrigation. The smaller the crack or hole, the slower the drip.

A leaky bucket might have been the first “drip irrigation” used.

To use one of these buckets for watering, just set it right at the base of the plant you would like to water. Keep in mind, with most trees and shrubs, that the root system generally extends as far from the main stem/trunk as the branches above reach out from that same point of origin. I try to place the bucket as close to the main trunk as I can. If there is an incline, I’ll try to place it on the uphill side of the trunk.

watering banana plants, low tech drip irrigation, using a leaky bucket
Here, I’m using low tech drip irrigation to water a cluster of banana plants.

Another application for this same kind of low tech drip irrigation would be to set such a bucket beside a hill of pumpkin or watermelon plants, leaving it all season and filling it with water whenever conditions get dry.

A key principle in homesteading is to be creative, finding ways to do things easier, better and/or more economically.

Do you have a unique use for a leaky bucket? We’d love to hear your idea!


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