Repurposing milk or water bottles to irrigate your garden

We don’t drink a lot of milk but we still have a 2L plastic milk bottle to throw into the recycling bin once a week.  I guess it’s not too bad that it’s getting recycled and not going to landfill but I still felt compelled to find a better way of reusing them till they are really ‘ready’ to be recycled.

I’ve tried to make quail feeders out of them but that’s only once off and they weren’t strong enough.  I’ve also tried to make hanging planters with them; some plants thrive, some don’t…I need to water more regularly… could really make a good vertical garden for someone who doesn’t have the space.  During apple season each year, I hang DIY moth traps on the trees and you guessed it – they are made out of plastic milk bottles!  And one of the quickest way to use many at once is when you have seedlings to protect; milk bottles with their bottoms cut out make great cloches.

And recently I stumbled upon another use for the garden which I think is really useful in our hot and dry summers here.  Have you heard of garden ollas?  They are unglazed clay pots used in garden irrigation.  While I don’t have access to such affordable clay pots, I have enough plastic milk bottles to do the same.

So I poke holes in them and bury them in the ground right next to where I’m going to plant.  You’ll have to experiment with the number of holes and the spacing.  I was too keen to start with and poked too many holes so my milk bottle olla didn’t really hold water for long.  But it was still a good way to water sub-surface.  I’ve tried it out first with the pumpkin as I think it would really benefit from not being watered overhead due to susceptibility to powdery mildew.  If you have milk bottles going into the recycling bin, try this and see if it helps your garden!  Poking holes could be a stress-reliever too, who knows!

Milk bottle olla
Milk bottle olla