A self watering planter has a reservoir to store water. When the soil dries out, the reservoir draws up as much water as possible. Since the reservoir comes in handy, over watering is not going to be an issue as the plants will enjoy year round moisture as long as the reservoir is filled with water. This has an added bonus where the fertilizer can be mixed to the water itself. This means giving the plants both food and water throughout the growing season, which influences the quality and growth of the plant.
You can add a few drops of essential oil to the water to get rid of the mosquitoes. You can fix the planter in both ways, either to water from the top or from the bottom. The first thing you need to decide is if you want to water the plants form the top or from the bottom. If you plan to water from the top, you can use a normal planter in such a way that the water drains out from the reservoir, otherwise your plants will simply drown.
Watering from the top
If you prefer to water your plants form the top you can use it as a normal pot. The water will just drain out to the reservoir. The best thing you can do is to remove the water from the reservoir when you are watering from the top. The reason for that is that when you keep watering when there is still water in the reservoir, the soil stays permanently wet rather than having the time to dry out in between. As a result your plants will drown. To avoid this, you can even remove the water reservoir when you are not using it. When you are watering your plants you can catch the overflow in a sink and when the planter stopped dripping you can place it on, for example, a saucer.
Watering from the bottom
When you want to water the plants from the bottom you need to use the self watering reservoir. Fill it with water and refill it when it gets empty. You will have to refill the water reservoir of your planter once or twice a week. The number of times you have to refill the water reservoir depends on the size of the planter and the type of plants you are using.
The built-in water reservoir is designed to move the water upwards through the soil. When the soil is dry the moisture will continually move upwards, the advantage of such a system is that it always delivers enough water to the plants. One important point to note is that if you decide to use the water reservoir you must never water from the top. If you do, it could easily snap off the bottom. The advantage is that you can easily clean the reservoir and remove salts and algae before replanting.