DIY Gravitation-Vacuum-Dripping-Valve as a Plant Watering System

In a few days I will go on holiday. Someone has to either look after my plants on the balcony while I am away or some kind of automatism should ensure that my plants are still alive when I am back.

So I did some googling around and found nice hints, but nothing that really kicked me enough and often I did not have the required things in the household. So I went with something quite common, a 1,5L plastic bottle of water, an empty mini glass of jar, a short piece (about 10cm) of yarn, a hot glue pistol and an edding permanent marker.

Things required

  • 1,5L plastic glass bottle (could also be a glass bottle)
  • mini jar glass (which fits the neck of the bottle tightly)
  • 10cm of yarn
  • Hot glue pistol
  • Edding permanent marker

Mini Jar Glass

Empty a mini jar glass and make it clean and dry.

Piece of yarn

Get some yarn and cut off a piece of about 10cm or longer (not too short).

Like about this size…

1,5L PlasticGlass Bottle

Hot Glue Pistol

Prepare the piece of yarn like in the photo then fetch and turn on the hot glue pistol.

Glue the yarn to the bottom of the inside of the glass like in this photo.

The gravitation-vacuum-dripping-mechanism

The bottle should now fit perfectly into the glass by putting it in upside-down. The yarn should leave the edge between bottle and glass on both sides (this is where the water should slowly drip from). The yarn should actually only ensure that there is a small opening where water can escape from the bottle.

System Installation

First dig a small hole in the earth beneath your plants. The hole can be slightly bigger than the glass itself, so the bottle will have full contact with the surrounding earth to stand stable.

Apply the prepared glass on the top of the water filled bottle like so…

…then rotate the whole thing upside-down and slowly insert it into the digged hole. Like so…

…check that the bottle is standing in 90 degress from the ground exactly in upright position to not fall over. Press some earth/dirt against the bottom surroundings to make it stand stable in the earth. Be careful that you keep the pieces of yarn below the surface so the dripping will happen below surface. Otherwise too much water will be lost to immediate evaporation.

System Monitoring

Not fetch your permanent marker.

And apply a mark for the water level in the bottle. Put a date/time beneath the mark like so…

…you can even add the correct time to have exact data on your experiment.


These plants can now self-service some 1,5L of water during your stay away. The final system looks a bit weird… but it works. Hopefully!

Update: Correction on bottle material

The plastic bottles I used were not fit for the purpose. After several hours of the watering system in operation the plastic bottles looked like this…

So plastic is not stable enough to stand the atmospheric pressure while the water is sucked out of the bottom opening. So as of today I replaced the bottles by 0,5L glass bottles to see if that helps. Until now it works.

To be continued…

Why do I blog this? I wanted a quick and failsafe solution. In the last really hot summer I went with a small clay jug to fit the bottle in and I hot-glued the hole at the bottom of the jug closed. But the clay jug broke with the time and it did allow too much water to be dispensed. So this time I will try this new approach.

The Virtual Typewriter Museum

The The Virtual Typewriter Museum has the history and pictures of amazing machines.

Like e.g. these:

The Writing Ball

typewriter is one of the great inventions of 19th Century communications technology. Between the 1860s and 1920s engineers, inventors and even carpenters invested all their creativity in the development of the ultimate writing machine. This virtual museum, that is based on private collections of antique typewriters from around the world, is a tribute to their ingenuity.

A nice craft of typewriting machines also resonates emotionally with me. It’s sexy. And so it did not surprise me to find the book Sexy Legs and Typewriters – „Women in office-related advertising, humor, glamour and erotica.“ on the webpage there.

Women and typewriters entered into a sensual partnership of skin and steel the moment at which the first writing machine was operated by female fingers. That was back in the 1870s. Ever since, office girls have fed the male imagination for many different reasons.

Pretty women and typewriters appeared together in advertising; humorous photo series and postcards; glamour photos; and erotica. This richly illustrated book covers all these areas, from the first woman to appear in a typewriter ad to a large collection of nudes from all ages.

Why do I blog this? I like the love in detail and the variety of typewriters built.

Overview of hacker-friendly single board computers

The linux gizmos mag has a nice and helpful review/compilation of all kind of single board computers created in Jan 2017.

Brief reviews on the site look like this:

They also have a spreadsheet online to get the full overview.

Why do I blog this? I always wanted to play around with one of these. I did a bit playing around with Arduino but never went for something more than a 20-40 lines of code. Maybe this helps to get me into a deeper sphere of playing around with these quite powerful things.