DIY Veggie Sub-Irrigated Planters (SIPs) from two 5-gallon buckets

Exhibition: Network | November 26, 2011 by

In an unstable world, efficiently growing food locally provides a true oasis of security.

Sub-Irrigated Planters (SIPs) are the most efficient and foolproof way to grow tons of food anywhere with a little sunshine. Even preschoolers (with a little help!) can make and plant their own SIP using two 5-gallon food-grade buckets. The SIPs remain free of weeds and minimize maintenance, needing watering only once every 3 days. The SIPs are highly scalable and can be easily set up on and moved from rooftops or vacant lots while obviating the risks from contaminated urban soils.

Making a SIP then planting, growing and harvesting their own tomato or any other vegetable they fancy will boost any local community’s sense of accomplishment tremendously. Everyone is very likely to eat the veggie they grew themselves (it’s tastier!), providing good health as a “side-effect”. Each community can organize a local farmer’s market to sell the produce. Children can set up SIPs at school to grow healthy produce and learn science. Kids can develop their entrepreneurial skills by running their own farmer’s market or fresh food cafeteria at school.


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