This is the "coffee plantation" sub-irrigated planter (SIP) shown in this post. I could have done a better job of explaining how it works. The photo above with captions should help make it more understandable. Your feedback will be appreciated.
Note that this planter is for indoor use only. This type of translucent storage box will not stand up to harsh weather. Outdoors it would probably last no more than one season. Note also that there is no overflow drain hole. Monitor the soil moisture by viewing through the clear walls and use a soil probe for best accuracy in testing soil moisture.
Always add a measured amount of water into a SIP for indoor use. These planters are erroneously called “self-watering” in the consumer market. That is a clear misrepresentation. Plants do not have intelligence to start and stop drinking. It is an urban myth, an urban legend.
This method of making a SIP is applicable to any watertight container. You can even convert raised beds to sub-irrigation by lining them with sheet plastic and then following this method. Recycled nursery flats are a perfect way to convert raised beds to SIPs. You would not only grow an abundance of fresh food you would help keep these flats out of our landfills.
This easy to make sub-irrigated planter (SIP) design could revolutionize personal and family food production in the United States. Think that is a bold statement?
If every citizen had at least one recycled soda/pop bottle planter and at least one box or bucket SIP we would go a long way towards eliminating food deserts in our cities and make a big impact on our national obesity problem. Everyone and anyone can learn to grow some of their own food this way, no green thumb or shovel necessary.
I encourage everyone to try growing plants in SIPs. You will quickly learn how easy it is to manage and grow some personal fresh food. You will become a believer.
Please know that I will help anyone who has questions. Just ask. There are no dumb questions. The only thing dumb is drench and drain watering of containerized plants.
The widespread use of top watering and drain hole planters is largely due to inappropriate propaganda from the USDA Extension program. At a minimum, they should be explaining the pros and cons of each irrigation method but they do not.
Thanks to Google coupled with professional experience of almost forty years, I am prepared to back up that statement.