DIY Slow Drip Watering System for Your Garden

Filling DIY plastic milk jug drip irrigation with water.

Slow drip, deep watering—such as from drip irrigation—is the best and least wasteful way to water the plants in your garden.

To make your own slow drip watering system for plants in your garden:

    1. Punch several small holes in the bottom of a plastic milk jug or juice container.
    1. Dig a hole next to the plant large enough for the jug.
    1. Place the jug in the hole with the top on so the top protrudes above ground level.
    1. Fill dirt back in around the jug.
    1. Remove the top from the jug and fill the jug with water.
  1. Put the top back on the jug loosely to keep dirt out and allow the water to drain.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Well Tricia, it seems pretty close to be planting a plant so close to this one.

Tricia Craven Worley: Well, I agree with you. I wouldn’t dare plant a plant this close. I’m going to plant something a lot more exciting.

Danny Lipford: OK, what is that?

Tricia Craven Worley: How about a milk jug.

Danny Lipford: A milk jug, OK, all right. Explain this one to me.

Tricia Craven Worley: Well, you know here in southern California, we’ve had problems with water for ever and ever. We’ve had some good rains recently, thank goodness, and I’ve got a great green garden right now.

Danny Lipford: Sure do, yeah.

Tricia Craven Worley: But generally speaking, water’s a premium, and this is a great way to deliver water to a specific plant. What I’ve done is taken a gallon jug, milk jug—you could use a juice jug as well—and I’ve poked little holes in the bottom of it. Now, depending on how many holes you put, the water might seep through slower or more quickly.

Danny Lipford: Right.

Tricia Craven Worley: Now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to literally plant this in here. I keep the top on, because I want to be able to keep the dirt out as I’m piling it around.

Danny Lipford: Oh, I see, OK.

Tricia Craven Worley: And then after I do this, what I’m going to do is pour the water into it. As you can see, as I cover up the container, that little red…

Danny Lipford: Right, yeah. You’ll be able to find it a little bit.

Tricia Craven Worley: Exactly, you’ll be able to find it.

Danny Lipford: Now, is this better than really just coming out with a hose and watering the plant a few days at a time?

Tricia Craven Worley: Well, you know, that’s a really good point. Because you know in my opinion it’s much better. As this water goes in there, the water is going to go much more directly to the root, and give it that deep watering that plants just love, instead of just a splash.


  1. very good idea, especially when some trees are further away than the water hose will reach & you have to carry water to them. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a great resourceful, environmental and budget friendly concept. I live in Palm Desert with temperatures up to 122F and 1/3rd of my property has no irrigation system and I want to plant some baby queen palm trees. This is a great solution. I’m going thru my recycle can to retrieve my water and milk bottles right now. Thank You!

  3. Love this idea, Thank you!

    How long do the milk jugs last? Will we have to replace mid-season due to the sun degrading the plastic?

    Thanks kindly.

    • Hi, Nikki!
      Unlike milk, there’s no set expiration date on its jug. 🙂 It’s best to monitor the situation and determine whether this slow-drip watering system gets the results you want.
      Good luck!


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