If you have a container garden, you know how tiresome it can be to have to water the plants every single day. Containers tend to let water evaporate more quickly, so you can't let a day go by without adding a little water to each and every container. A lot of people try to set up an automatic watering system, such as drip irrigation with a timer, or a self-watering system, such as a bottle-wick combination. These can be alternately helpful and tricky for container gardens, so you have to carefully consider how each would affect your day-to-day dealings with the plants.
A drip irrigation system that uses tubing that's partially buried under the soil can handle being in direct sunlight a lot more than a self-watering system like a bottle turned upside down in soil. The water in the bottle can heat up if the bottle is glass, and if you use a plastic bottle, BPA can be released into the water. For container plants that need to be in the sun, a tubing-based drip irrigation system with a timer may be better. Leave the bottles for plants that stay in the shade.
A drip irrigation system that has a timer allows you to control when water is released, and the emitters themselves limit the amount of water that drips out. With a bottle or bottle-and-wick system, you're at the mercy of the soil's ability to drain and absorb more water. Other than controlling how much water goes into the bottle to begin with, you don't have a say in how much water flows into the soil.
Cats and Wildlife
Both systems face problems from cats (both domestic and stray) and wildlife. Drip tubing and wicks can be pulled out or chewed on, bottles can be knocked over and possibly broken, and in all cases, parts can be stolen (raccoons are not very discriminating), and water can drunk by the animals, which can be dangerous if you've mixed in liquid fertilizer. If pets are a problem, a tubing system with emitters is likely to cause fewer issues.
Speak with sprinkler companies, garden centers, and home improvement companies to see what setups they have used and how they have mitigated problems like animal interference. Watering your container garden will be a lot easier if you can set up a system to take care of the watering for you. To learn more about your options for DIY irrigation, contact a company like Regency Irrigation.