I got the idea to make these thumb controlled pots from the pottery ones I’ve seen at Historic Williamsburg. The original earthenware “thumb pots” were used in 17th and 18th century English gardens. I reproduced this clever watering device using salvaged plastic bottles and jugs. It is ideal for watering delicate seedlings. I use this watering pot all the time now.
Find a suitable “pot.” I love using maple syrup containers but I was successful making other smaller pots with smaller plastic milk bottles. The smaller bottles are easier for children.
Drill a hole in the center of the cap of your container. I used a 7/32nd drill bit. Next, drill small holes in the bottom. I used a 1/16th drill bit. When using softer plastic containers, it is possible to poke holes instead of using a drill. Make sure the cap is on tight; otherwise the water will not stay inside.
How it works:
It works similar to holding your thumb over the top of a drinking straw.
1. To fill your thumb pot, place into a bucket of water. Do not cover the hole in the top.
2. Hold your finger over the hole in the cap to prevent water from escaping the bottom as you lift.
3. Continue to hold your thumb over the hole as you lift.
4. Take your thumb off the hole when you are ready to water your plants. Removing your thumb allows the water to gently stream out the holes on the bottom.
How to hold a thumb pot.