It's already hot here in Dallas, so you know our plants already need a lot of water! I recently purchased a book called Gardening with Less Water by David Bainbridge, and am excited to get started on some of his ideas. They're super inexpensive, and quite easy...even for the novice hardware store customer like myself!
Step 1: Locate a cute farm dog to help make your project more fun.
Step 2: Place a rubber stopper at the base of the pot to keep the water from draining. I used rubber stoppers for some and cork for others just to experiment. Use what you have!
Step 3: Bury small clay pots about 1-3 inches away from your plant. The idea is that the clay pot is porous enough to house water while allowing the water to slowly permeate the soil. (Important to note: a glazed pot won't give you the same results. Stick to those cheap terracotta pots.)
Step 4: Fill the pots with water. Bonus points for using rainwater you've collected after yesterday's storms!
Step 5: Put the lids on the pots to keep the water from evaporating, and to keep mosquitoes out. The book says to drill a hole in the top of the pots and place a stone in the hole, but with North Texas' mosquito population, I want to reduce the risk of appealing to them.
The end! The water will soak through the sides of the pots and provide water to your plants. Your soil will be rich and full of nutrients your plants require, and you won't have to exude so much energy hand watering! Reducing water usage in this way is not only great for your water bill, but it's a fantastic way to utilize resources you already have lying around...which is the spirit of Zero Waste living!