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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Self-watering planters with ramen cups

 This is not a sponsored post. I'm just really happy this worked just right. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters


My son loves ramen and loves trying new flavors. One of his new favorite brands is Kusari Noodles. You can find them at Walmart or Amazon. This technique will work for other plastic cups too. These were what I had. 

They are really savory and flavorful when mixed right. Follow the instructions on the package exactly and make sure it's stirred well- the good stuff is at the bottom. 

The packaging is also designed to be recycle friendly, but given a choice between recycling and reusing, I reuse stuff until I've decided it's ready to recycle, and the shape of these cups struck me as being perfect for self-watering planters to grow herbs, so he's been saving the cups for me. The plastic is fairly firm and the labels have a perforated tab so you can pull it right off very easily leaving a plain white cup. 

Our weather has been really weird, but I found some of my Italian parsley still alive in my garden a couple days ago and cut a few stems to root and grow inside. I've used auto-watering planters to grow from seed too. 




Ramen cup self-watering planters- supplies

You will need: 

  • Cups
  • an awl or sharp pair of scissors to make a hole
  • cotton fabric to make a wick
  • soil
  • water
  • Something to pull the strips through the cups
The cups need to be able to fit together in a way that provides space between the bottoms of the cups. For these, that flange at the bottom of the cups works. For cotton fabric, I've used old towels, the sleeves off t-shirts I've cut up for other projects, fabric selvages and cotton scraps from other sewing projects. You will want to use something that's been washed without fabric softener in the wash or dry cycle to remove sizing. 

You need twice as many cups as you want planters too. 

Cut the fabric into 1 inch strips if you're using a woven cotton or jersey, and 1/2 inch strips for thicker fabric- at least 6 inches long. 

Poke holes in the bottom of half of the cups. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters- hole poking
Now tie knots about 1-2 inches down the strips of fabric. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters- wicks

You'll need to pull the strips through the cups so the knot is on the inside of the cup. I've used a few methods for this in the past. One of them is to use a bobby pin or hair pin as a needle, for these, I used a loop turner. Pull them through. 

Ramen cup self-watering planters- wicks in cups

In the whole cups, pour water to the line, and then nestle the wicked cups in them. 


Now the wick and water cup are ready to go, and you can fill the cups with soil and your plants. 


If you're using cuttings like I am, water the soil after planting the cuttings, after this, the wick will pull up enough water to keep it damp. Check the water the levels every few days until you get a feeling for how often they will need to be re-filled. 


To start seeds, you don't need to wet the soil, just plant them and cover with a plastic bag to create a mini-greenhouse. The wick will pull up the water slowly and water the seeds. The bag will mean it doesn't need to be refilled as often, but do check it every few days to see if it needs more water. Remove the bag after your seedlings get a couple inches tall.