Friday, June 17, 2011

Self Watering Planters 2011

In a previous post, I wrote about making a self watering planter, or Sub-Irrigated Planter if you prefer. A lot like the Earthbox planters you might find in Walmart. I took some advice from the makers of the "Global Buckets" videos on youtube, and connected the planters with a thin aquarium hose and siphon. I must say, it is working great. The tomato planter sucks water like crazy, but the lettuce planter has water to spare. By connecting them, it is like having a single 50L reservoir shared by all the plants.

Well, this year's rooftop garden at my school has more diversity than last year.
I have (from left to right) lettuce, watermelon, bell pepper, cucumber, and tomato in the vegetable section.

And the blueberries I planted in the fourth planter last year have exploded in growth. Amazing growth. The honeyberries have not grown as well as the blueberries, but they look to be doing well.

Future plans for the self watering planter garden:
I am planning to make a large automatic waterer based on the traditional chicken waterer. I am thinking of taking a 30-40L barrel, and drilling a hole about 5cm down from the top.
Then I will fasten a deep tray to the top of the barrel. A second option would be upending and standing the barrel in a large plastic storage case.
The hard part will be flipping it over. 30-40Kg.... not impossible, but pretty heavy.
The water will fill the tray until it reaches the hole, where the vacuum created by the bubble at the top will stop it.
After that, connecting the nearest planter with a siphon will begin the watering.
The planters and the reservoir will seek the same level, and water will gradually be released from the barrel as the water lowers to the hole, where it will "burp" out some more and send a bubble to the top.

I hope to have enough capacity to last for a full week between fillings.

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