She is creating the soil wicks around the recycled plastic jugs that form the water and oxygen reservoir system. It doesn't get any simpler than this. PVC and power tools not necessary. All you need is a water tight container and a place in the sun. It could even be a raised bed made water tight with sheet plastic.
A neighborhood community group in Minneapolis is “rolling out” barrels of fresh vegetables in portable micro garden planters they named GrowBarrels.
This is an inspiring story of community involvement in building sub-irrigated (aka “self-watering”) planters (SIPs) from recycled plastic barrels. The interior “plumbing” is also made from recycled plastics following this basic method.
The Southeast Como Improvement Association has discovered the best of all worlds. There is no waiting list in this community garden, there can be an unlimited number of growers and it does not require valuable city land.
Neighbors meet in workshops to build the portable micro gardens but the gardens go home with each of them. Home is clearly the best place to grow some fresh food. Every family member, young and old, can participate.
We could make a very significant contribution to the supply of local fresh food in cities if groups of people in all cities got together to do what these folks are doing in Minneapolis. This could be done block by block. All it will take is some leadership and education about building SIPs.
Look at these photo sets. They tell the story in great detail.