Sometimes when you do a project you just know you’ve started down an unexpected new path. That’s how I feel having completed the simple custom garden feeder I’ll show you in this post. I just feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the ideas made possible by the new LiquaFeed Universal Feeder product from Miracle-Gro.
The way the LiquaFeed works is so convenient and simple. You just connect it inline with your garden hose at some point. Generally it’s where the hose connects to the water supply at your hose bib. (spigot) The unit has a replaceable feed bottle that adds MiracleGro plant food to the water stream whenever you have it set to “feed” mode. For plain water, set it to water mode and you’re all good.
Just out of the box, it works great for using something like a standard garden sprayer. This way you can easily switch between tasks such as washing the car or rinsing the sidewalk to feeding your plants with a simple turn of the selector knob. That’s big progress already compared to disconnecting the standard sprayer and screwing on a feed sprayer.
But the real “world of opportunity” comes when you start thinking of the unlimited ways you can create and install more permanent feeder systems. That’s what we did here. Check it out!
Custom Feeder for “The Hospital”
Our yard gets HOT. Despite more palm trees per acre than some tree farms, we still have to consider the entire yard as “full sun” and our potted plants often get to the brink of death. That’s why we have “The Hospital”, an area that is under the shade of a whole wall of Eureka Palms augmented by a couple of giant market umbrellas. Here, with a little TLC we can bring those plants back to life and start the process all over again.
Where before we had to manually feed and water the plants in the hospital, the new custom feeder makes the process super simple. Just two steps. Turn the valve on to start, turn the valve off to stop. The MiracleGro food is always available thanks to the LiquaFeed unit hidden out of site.
Super Easy and Quick
My original idea was to build this out of copper. You can see the brightly spray painted section of pipe in the pictures… that’s what I was thinking I would do in copper. But copper is expensive and the connections either take time (using sweated copper connections) or cost a fortune (using the expensive but convenient Sharkbite connectors).
After adding it up, I decided to give it a shot with PVC. I’m so glad I did! It was easy and quick and didn’t cost much at all. In fact the most expensive item I bought was a new garden hose so I could leave it running permanently to the custom feeder.
Here’s a run-down of the materials I used:
- 10′ Length of 1/2″ Schedule 40 PVC
- 1 PVC End cap
- 3 PVC 90 degree fittings
- 1 PVC ball valve
- 1 PVC to pipe thread fitting
- 1 Female Hose adapter
- 1 Garden Hose
- 1 Y Hose adapter (so I could leave the existing hose connected as well)
- 2 Curtain (Sheer) rod brackets.
- Spray Paint
- Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed Starter Kit
For tools, I just needed to cut the PVC which you can do with a PVC cutter or with a hacksaw, and a 1/8″ drill bit to drill holes in the feeder pipe, which I did every 3″.
It’s all really pretty simple, as you can see in the pictures, but it works great!
I can leave the water on to the feeder, leaving the LiquaFeed in the feed position. Then I just turn the valve on (barely open) and let it feed the plants for awhile before turning it back off.
The Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed unit is hidden out of site on the side-yard of the house. All I have to do is check it once in awhile to see if it’s time to change out the feed bottle. But since I only need to run this for a minute or so each day, the LiquaFeed lasts pretty good and refills are readily available at major retailers and online.
The Wild Run of Crazy Ideas
The thing is, now I’ve got more ideas than I know what to do with! This feeder works so well and was so easy, I’m already thinking of adding more length to it so it feeds the entire hospital area. I’m also thinking about running a dedicated hose off of the same line just for plant feeding. I would just add a hose connection into the riser PVC pipe and that hose would always be ready to feed the plants.
But I’m also thinking of all the cool ways you could add feeding to any corner of the garden. Hidden feeder lines, decorative sprinklers in disguise, and who knows what else!?
In the end, this project was a great success and I know the plants will be thankful. Now I’m just wondering where I’ll stop!
Now you can water and feed your garden at the same time with almost any device. The Miracle-Gro® LiquaFeed® Universal Feeder connects to the spigot and allows you to easily feed your plants for a beautiful garden all season long.
Miracle-Gro® sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.