There are two essential ways to make drip irrigation systems. You can punch holes in a plastic garden hose or you can use plastic bottles that once held soft drinks or detergent and place them alongside individual plants. The idea is not to waste water by having it soak into the ground where there are no roots that you want to irrigate. The challenge always is to adjust the flow of water so the roots don't get soggy or don't dry out.
Plastic garden hose
Drill or poke holes in a plastic garden hose. Space the holes according to the space between the plants you want to water.
Cut scraps of cloth into strips and tie them around the holes. These strips of cloth will control the speed of the drip coming out of the holes.
Cap the hose and water your plants on low pressure. You can use water from an elevated plastic garbage can that you use to catch rainwater or you can use water from a tap.
Tighten or release the pressure of the strips or adjust the flow of water to get the speed of drip that you want.
Plastic bottle bottom down
Drill or poke holes in the bottom of a plastic bottle or jug roughly 2 quarts in size; it can be slightly smaller or larger.
Dump small rocks through the top of the jug. The rocks will collect in the bottom to give the bottle stability and keep it from falling over.
Fill the jug with water and cap the jug.
Put the bottom of the jug near the plant you want to water. The size of the holes in the bottom is critical to achieving the correct drip. You may have to experiment with different-size holes to get the drip you want.
Plastic bottle cap down
Use a serrated knife to cut the bottom off a plastic bottle roughly 2 quarts in size; it can be slightly larger or smaller.
Use an ice pick or drill to make holes in the cap. Drill more holes for a faster drip, fewer holes for a slower drip. Start with a few holes. If you want a faster drip, add more holes. Four to eight holes typically will be the best.
Push the neck with the punctured cap down to the roots you want to water. Put dirt around the bottle to keep it stable. Fill the bottle with water.
About this Author
Richard Hoyt, an internationally published author of 26 mysteries, thrillers and other novels, is a former reporter for Honolulu dailies and writer for "Newsweek" magazine. He taught nonfiction writing and journalism at the university level for 10 years. He holds a Ph.D. in American studies.