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Old May 22, 2013   #1
SIP Gro-Tubs
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Default 5 gl Gro-Bucket using only 1 Bucket

5 gl Gro-Bucket using only 1 Bucket
5 gl buckets.jpg 001.jpg 002.jpg 003.jpg 005.jpg 006.jpg 007.jpg
This first photo is of bucket for sale at the Farmers Mkt.

The second, fifth, and sixth photos show a section of the bucket cut away so you can see the inside of the reservoir, using either 4" PVC pipe or 10 mm Coroplast supports, this is the reason that you only need 1 bucket, and its most times cheaper, cleaner to use, and increase the depth of your water reservoir. This is a 2 gl resevior.

Those are 4" PVC sewer pipes that have been cut to 5 3/4" long. 4 of them can stand upright inside a bucket with room to spare.

Just left to the bucket is a PVC signboard material called Coroplast 10 mm thickness, very light weight, 2 thin sheets spaced apart with fins every 3/8''.

A 4x8' sheet of 10 mm material weighs less than 10 lbs. but is super strong. I'm a big man weighing over 300 lbs. and I, can stand on top of a sheet laying on the floor and not even put a foot impression on the surface.

To the left is a fabricated X shaped coroplast support I, make, the one you see and is enough to support me standing on top of it.

The round 10 mm Coroplast reservoir top, I, cut with a router and my circle-cutter jig.

Aeration and drain holes thru the side of the bucket. I even have a way to make six 3/4" diameter worm holes thru the bucket for better aeration of the media.

Minimum to no draining from the soil-less chamber won't get into your water reservoir, so u know that no smelly foul oders from water saturated soil wicks.

Total cost for me to build less than $3 per bucket and thats with the soil-less media, add 3 starter tomatoes or other vegetables $0.25.

All plastic parts are made from #2 or #5 plastic chips.

About Coroplast: Best material made to make a SIP, SWC, or whatever you want to call them. Super-Strong, very liteweight, you see it everyday along roadways, its called "Politcal Signs" "Yard Sale signs" "New Home signs", etc. but that coroplast is the 4 mm thickness and doesn't have the strength and ridgidity of the 10 mm that I, use. But if you double, or triple it up, it can be used.

Next to that, there are 2 different types of wicks, the slight yellow one is a Microfiber cleaning cloth for cow udders. 16" x 16" 320 Grams/SM you pobably know it with the TV screen name "Sham-WoW"

The white round pc. is just a polyester cord, that can be bought at any fabric store, its called Piping Cord.

Cotton vs Polyester:
Many posts that I, read here say to use cotton. Cotton will rot very fast in water, are you going to chance your growing plants to a wick that may rot off at the reservoir top and fall in the water, disrupting any wicking.

I've been building these systems for over 23 years, and most of my planters are used continously for years on end without being repotted. But when they are repotted by the customers or they bring them to me, the Polyester wicks are in the same condition as when I, first installed them. Any ways 22/32" diameter Polyester piping cord costs me less than cotton cord.

Next to that is a 3/4" PVC pipe 11.75" long, no slanted cuts, no holes in the side of the pipe needed. I, do put a 3/4'' PVC coupling on top, that way the inside of the coupling will accept most male ends of hoses. That fill tube is secured to the outside of the bucket with a short sheetmetal screw.

So what is my cost to build one bucket:
Buckets: $0.50 but most are FREE, the black bucket is from asphalt sealer, made from #2 plastic.

10 mm Coroplast: 1.5 s/f $FREE I get recycled material, free just haul it away, but if I have to buy it its $0.88 s/f for 4' x 8' sheets.

Polyester Piping cord $0.14 l/f or 1/3 of a 16" sq. sheet of Microfiber Udder cloth $0.24

3/4" x 11 3/4'' PVC fill tube $0.18

3/4" PVC coupling $0.22

3 - #6 x 1'' sheetmetal screws $0.09

1 - #8 x 2" SS screw $0.12

1/5 of a hand sqeeze tube of DAP tub and tile caulk $0.30

Total cost $1.55 using Piping cord, or if using Microfiber $1.65

Add my soil-less mix 3 gls at $0.40 gl.

Total ready to be planted $2.75 w/ piping cord or $2.85 w/ Microfiber

Retail costs I get at Trade shows, Plant shows and Farmers Mkt's with 3 peppers $30 ea. 3 herbs $35 ea. 3 Patio tomatos $30 ea.

I'm not boosting about the costs I, pay for items. I'm a 1 man manufacturer and buy in bulk at wholesale prices. But did you know that you also can buy wholesale in your area. Before I, got my tax certificate and buisness liscene, I bought wholesale at many a distributors that wholesale only. No big secret, walk in, go to the sales desk, ask for what you need, they will ask you to fill out a bunch of forms. Tell them you don't do buisness that way and then reach into your pocket and pull out a wad of green bills. 95 out of 100 buisnesses will sell to you at wholesale.

Finding a source for Coroplast. www.coroplast.com ask them for a distributor in your area, those distributors can lead you to there sellers. Coroplast is made from #5 plastic chips.

Look up "Plastic or Signs" in the yellow pages. But beware, here in SA, TX there are 4 sign suppliers within 1 mile radius of each other, the one with the biggest name is the most expensive, but is the best to get scrap and cut-offs from, some even for FREE. But when I have to buy a full sheet, I call all 4 places to get todays costs. Costs can vary between the 4, as much as $24 a sheet.

They sell some cut-offs for $2 lb, but a 4x8 sht of 10 mm wieghs less than 10 lbs, thats only $0.47 for 1.5 S/F, so its still a good bargain. But most pcs less than 6" wide, and sometimes 12" are thrown into dumsters. Recycling this is not a option for many plastics suppliers.

Buying Polyester wicking material, you have to buy two 10 lb spools min. order, less than $6 a pound, 22/32'' diameter, 42 l/f per lb. http://www.textol.com/textol.asp

Microfiber udder cloths https://maximmart.com/ buy 1 or 1,000 at a time, plus shipping, Order in the 240 pc box's with FREE S/H

Or send me a PM, I, sell the kits to convert a bucket, or round tubs.

Want a sample of the 2 sizes ( 4 & 10 mm ) of Coroplast PM me for details.
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Old May 22, 2013   #2
Wi-sunflower
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That is quite neat. I would like to do something like that for at my farmers markets.

I've been looking at Global Buckets system but haven't had time to do anything so far. I will keep this thread in mind when we get some time to do something.

Thanks for the good looking system,
Carol
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Old May 23, 2013   #3
tlintx
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I was actually considering how best to convert some very large pots into SIPs for greens just this morning.

Thank you for the detailed walk through, it's hard to find good pictures of a non-soil wick system!


Tl
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Old May 30, 2013   #4
rwsacto
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Terry,

Thank you for the details on your SIPs. I also use coroplast (free to me on Wednesday after the first Tuesday in November of even numbered years ) for my SIP flower boxes and Totes. I use 4" PVC pipe for supports and braided polyester rope for wicks. I do like your coroplast support design.

In your photos, it appears your drainage (overflow) holes are positioned just above the platform. Mine are typically 1/2 inch below the platform.

Thoughts or insight?

Thanks,

Rick
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Old May 31, 2013   #5
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Default Three 1/8" overflow holes per 5 gl SIP

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsacto View Post
Terry,

Thank you for the details on your SIPs. I also use coroplast (free to me on Wednesday after the first Tuesday in November of even numbered years ) for my SIP flower boxes and Totes. I use 4" PVC pipe for supports and braided polyester rope for wicks. I do like your coroplast support design.

In your photos, it appears your drainage (overflow) holes are positioned just above the platform. Mine are typically 1/2 inch below the platform.

Thoughts or insight?

Thanks,

Rick
Rick

Actually, there are three (3) 1/8" overflow drains in each 5 gl bucket. They are hard to see in a photo, especially on a black bucket.

Just below every other 7/8" drainage holes, the 1/8" holes are drilled 1/4" down. The coroplast also can be seen thru that overflow hole, if you look straight on.

By drilling 3 holes every other drain hole, the customer is quaranteed that if the bucket bottom is not level, there will always be a overflow hole that will overflow.

In my 25 gl, round tubs, there are 8 drain holes, and 4 overflow holes.

I, always laugh, when I, see people that drill a lot of holes in thier bottoms of thier buckets and call them drain holes. The water is wicked from the bottom, not poured in from the top.

The media is moist, not wet, at the bottom of the container, so no it doesn't form water per se, that needs draining.

Aeration holes are another laugh. Thats a marketing gimmick.

How does the air get into the bottom of the bucket, once the water is wicked up to the media in the first place.

What force will react with air that isn't moving, move it up thru the aeration holes.

Air fills the reservoir void as the water level drops, thru the path of least resistance. That's either thru the overflow holes, or the fill tube.

I'm going to do a demo, of this tommorrow. you will be able to see the air moving up between the inside of walls of 2 buckets.

You will be able to see the air flowing thru the overflow drains, and the fill tube, when the reservoir is being refilled.

Terry Layman
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Old May 31, 2013   #6
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Very creative. Looks great.

How did you get such a clean bucket after being filled with sealer? That was the most amazing part to me.
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Old May 31, 2013   #7
rwsacto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIP Gro-Tubs View Post
Rick

.......
Aeration holes are another laugh. Thats a marketing gimmick.

How does the air get into the bottom of the bucket, once the water is wicked up to the media in the first place.

What force will react with air that isn't moving, move it up thru the aeration holes.

Air fills the reservoir void as the water level drops, thru the path of least resistance. That's either thru the overflow holes, or the fill tube.

I'm going to do a demo, of this tommorrow. you will be able to see the air moving up between the inside of walls of 2 buckets.

You will be able to see the air flowing thru the overflow drains, and the fill tube, when the reservoir is being refilled.

Terry Layman
Terry,

Thanks for the detail. Just to summarize (for my understanding) You have large drainage holes in the bucket wall above the shelf, overflow holes in the bucket wall below the shelf and no aeration/drainage holes in the shelf.

My understanding of container aeration is to provide oxygen exchange through diffusion at or near the bottom for the roots to breathe and to prevent anaerobic conditions in the media that will kill roots. Diffusion does not require "force" (moving air or water) to happen. It is driven by the difference of partial pressure of (in this case) oxygen in the air and in the media (gas as well as dissolved in the water). Diffusion will try to equalize the partial pressures. As the roots and bacteria in the media use oxygen, more will flow from the air into the media through the top of the media or through the aeration holes.

In your design, I believe what you call drainage holes are performing as the aeration holes. Therefore, your design works without holes in the shelf. A bit of aeration is probably also happening through the fiber wicks.

In Earthtainers and similar designs with no holes in the container walls and where the shelf is positioned above the overflow holes, I believe the holes in the shelf act as both drainage holes and aeration holes.

Without aeration (in the bucket wall or the shelf) I believe the SIP will still wick water fine, but the bottom will get stinky and the plants will perform poorly.

Volume equalization may be a more accurate term to describe the displacement of air and water in the reservoir. This is simple hydraulics and has nothing to do with drainage or aeration of the media above the shelf. This is what your demo will show.

My thoughts,
Rick
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Old June 1, 2013   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsacto View Post
Thanks for the detail. Just to summarize (for my understanding) You have large drainage holes in the bucket wall above the shelf, overflow holes in the bucket wall below the shelf and no aeration/drainage holes in the shelf.

Yes. but since around the edge of shelf is not sealed to the container walls, you will have drainage if needed. But that is the area were there is less water from the wick, compared to the center of the container. Once the moisture from the wick spreads out laterally from the wick, and the soil near the wick gets to the same saturation point as the wick. The wick will stop wicking.


Its the same as how your own blood system works.

My understanding of container aeration is to provide oxygen exchange through diffusion at or near the bottom for the roots to breathe and to prevent anaerobic conditions in the media that will kill roots. Yes, you understand partially. If aeration is to be effective it needs to be in a upward movement thru-out the whole media column in a continous flow, un-restricted to push the CO2 and other harfull gases out the top of the media, to the underside of the leaf canopy, so the leaves can use it.

But you have major Restrictions in your design:

1. Covering the top of the media with plastic sheeting.
2. Size of the particles of media, to the amount of void between the particles.
3. Water collecting in the voids between the media particles, since your using a basket to wick water.



Diffusion does not require "force" (moving air or water) to happen. It is driven by the difference of partial pressure Yes, you just explained the force that you call ( difference of partial pressure.)

What do you think the ( difference of partial pressure ) would be in a enclosed container with 3" depth of water, 5 gls, with a 1" deep air gap above the water, since the water is in a dark confined space it would be relatively cool, cool doesn't rise like hot does, so the air in the air gap just sits there with out any force being applied to it.

(in this case) oxygen in the air and in the media (gas as well as dissolved in the water). Yes and No, As soon as water under pressure is exposed to air thats not under pressure, the dissolved O2 gases will dissipate out of the water, into the air gap.

An example of this action is the same as if you pour a soda into a glass, the CO2 will diffuse out of the soda, amd become flat in a very short time.

Diffusion will try to equalize the partial pressures. As the roots and bacteria in the media use oxygen, Yes, and they need lots of it to have a healthy enviroment, but remember at the same time they are expelling CO2, which makes a un-healthy enviroment, the same as you. And you want the CO2 to flow upward to be used by the plants leaves, YES.

more will flow from the air into the media through the top of the media NO, you've blocked that action with the plastic, thus trapping the CO2 in the media, and the plastic is a restriction of O2 moving upwards.

or through the aeration holes. NO, you've blocked that action also with the plastic, on top and by over saturation of water from the wick basket. So now you have filled the voids between soil particles with liguid water instead of keeping just the soil particles moist, leaving the voids free to diffuse gases upwards.

In your design, I believe what you call drainage holes are performing as the aeration holes. YES & NO. In my systems, I, don't use plastic top coverings. The holes are there for excess water from rain and a nearby sprinkler system. I, use a cedar shreded fiber mulch instead on top. Also the fertilizer is mixed into the bottom 2/3 of the containers, not laid on top. So the idea that un-composted mulch robs the nitrogen is False.

Therefore, your design works without holes in the shelf. YES. Since the polyester wick doesn't wick as fast as a soil wick would, causing the voids between the media particles be filled with liquid water. The media particles in my system are the extended wicks, leaving the voids empty between media particles.

A bit of aeration is probably also happening through the fiber wicks. NO, since the O2 dissipates as a gas out of standing water, same as CO2 out of a opened soda. The wick is just transporting water moisture, not what most people think as water coming from a pressurized hose, its not the same.

In Earthtainers and similar designs with no holes in the container walls and where the shelf is positioned above the overflow holes, I believe the holes in the shelf act as both drainage holes and aeration holes. The only reason you would need drainage is if the media mix is saturated with water. And since bottom watering has been proven to be the best watering system of any contanerized system compared to top watering. Thats why "Wick hysroponic" systems are one of the best for sub irriagatted planters. But if you don't follow the design, it won't work properly.

Without aeration (in the bucket wall or the shelf) I believe the SIP will still wick water fine, but the bottom will get stinky and the plants will perform poorly. NO, if your media mix is designed for sub-irriagation, the media won't get stinky, soggy, or past the moisture point, to support a anerobic enviroment.


The shelf in a 5 gl bucket has 86.5 square inches.

Drilling 40 holes, 3/16" dia, would produce a total of 1.1 sq inches for aeration, or 1.28% of the shelf area.

Drilling 40 holes, 1/4" dia, would produce a total of 2.0 sq inches for aeration, or 2.3% of the shelf area.

Drilling 6 holes 7/8" dia. in the side of a 5 gl bucket, for a total of 3.6 sq inches of area for aeration.
But with those 6 holes, I can increase the aeration of the media to 70.6 sq inches, using a "Worm Hole design"

The shelf in a 30 gl tote has 390 sq inches.

With 100 drilled 3/16" holes would produce 2.75 sq inches of area for aeration, or 0.7% of the total shelf area for aeration.

With 100 drilled 1/4" holes would produce 4.9 sq inches of area for aeration, or 1.3% of the total shelf area for aeration.

With 6 drilled 7/8" holes thru the outside of the tote would still produce 3.6 sq inches of aeration, but with my "Worm Hole design" that will increase the total aeration in contact with the media to 132 sq inches for aeration, or 37 times more than drilling holes in the shelf.


Terry Layman
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Old June 1, 2013   #9
jmichaelp
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Terry, thanks for sharing your design! My Dad had suggested coroplast, so it looks like that was good advice.

In single container buckets, have you experienced any problems due to the area available for deep rooted plants such as a tomato? I've started out with the two bucket design to provide the most depth for roots but would love to move to a single bucket design.
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Old June 1, 2013   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelp View Post
Terry, thanks for sharing your design! My Dad had suggested coroplast, so it looks like that was good advice.

In single container buckets, have you experienced any problems due to the area available for deep rooted plants such as a tomato? I've started out with the two bucket design to provide the most depth for roots but would love to move to a single bucket design.
First, Tomato's are not deep rooted. Commercial growers grow 3 Indeterminates with vines over 150' 10 months of the year, in a rockwool slab 3" tall, 6" wide, by 36" long. That less than 1 gl of media per plant. And that media is inert, NO Peatmoss, NO Compost, NO Perlite, Its similar to the insulation used in home construction, made by heating balsalt type of rocks, and the molten mass spun like cottoncandy to form a mat.

Deep rooted plants, such as 12" carrots, parsnips, horseradish will have a very hard time if the media is saturated with water.

You need to study the basic principles for growing in a hydroponic wick system.

1. A continous source of fresh clean water.
2. A media with the correct amount of nutrients available as the plant needs them.

Thats it. So now you are scratching your head and thinking I'm crazy, nuts, cuckoo, or what ever.

There is mention of wick hydroponics in the Bible, the Egytians use it even today. It's very prevalent in SE Asia, and the ancient Mayan's, Aztec's used the same principles to grow food.

When I grew vegetables in my Cedar Gro-Box's the resevoirs were 6" deep, but the media mix was only 5" deep.

In a Gro-Box 12" x 18", that's the clear measure of the inside top, inside of the top trim. 1.5 sq/ft. I was able to grow 5 herbs, or 2 tomato's plants.

Terry Layman

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Old June 11, 2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master_Gardener View Post
Very creative. Looks great.

How did you get such a clean bucket after being filled with sealer? That was the most amazing part to me.
Never said it was cleaned. Asphalt has been used for many years to seal wooden water reservoirs. The sealer is a water emulsified material, once the water evaporates the sealer is imperable to water, it can't be re-wetted with moist soil next to it.

Terry
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Old June 11, 2013   #12
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Terry,
Nice job with your design of the Gro-Tubs. A lot of time and thought went into designing your product. You're being very gracious by presenting a detailed format to follow, that allows anyone to build one of these. I personally don't grow in containers, but I plan on trying a couple just to see how they work. I've used the same sign material for my produce stand (which I got at Walmart). It should last a long time. The corrugation makeup of the material make it quite strong and durable. If the one's I make turn out correct, I may put them on display at the market, and see if there's any interest in them. I'll PM you within the next couple of days to get more info. Thanks again for all the information that you've provided.
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Old June 11, 2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpurdy View Post
Terry,
Nice job with your design of the Gro-Tubs. A lot of time and thought went into designing your product. You're being very gracious by presenting a detailed format to follow, that allows anyone to build one of these. I personally don't grow in containers, but I plan on trying a couple just to see how they work. I've used the same sign material for my produce stand (which I got at Walmart). It should last a long time. The corrugation makeup of the material make it quite strong and durable. If the one's I make turn out correct, I may put them on display at the market, and see if there's any interest in them. I'll PM you within the next couple of days to get more info. Thanks again for all the information that you've provided.
dpurdy
dpurdy

Thanks for posting that reply.

I, been designing and using these systems for over 23 years.

Coroplast is available at most Plastic Supply buisnesses. The one I, use is Reece Supply, they are a national company, another company is Regal Plastics, they are national also. Don't have the address's for thier websites tho.

I, use to sell the 5 gl SIP's at a local farmers market. with 3 peppers or 2 Patio tomatoes, per SIP, Retailed them at $30 ea. Planted with 3 Herbs $35 each.

Terry
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Old June 19, 2013   #14
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That corrugated plastic is also called "Corex" or "Correx"
some places:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrugated_plastic
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Old June 19, 2013   #15
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Terry - if you wouldn't be giving away trade secrets, could you explain your "wormholes" for aeration? I am about to try to construct a couple of your designed buckets, but I was wondering what you meant by this aspect.
Thanks,
Shawn
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