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Old January 21, 2017   #16
dmforcier
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Hemp rope?
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Old January 21, 2017   #17
murihikukid
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Kurt..I bought a small sample of polypropaline rope and it has drawn water up out of a jar so it could well be the best I can get....
Cheers Ron
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Old January 21, 2017   #18
BettyC-5
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Do use the polypropaline rope, it will last a long time. Organic rope, cotton, hemp, etc. will rot sooner. I would experiment using 2 or 3 small wicks through the openings at the edges and see how many it takes to keep the soil damp. I would worry more that your trays are too shallow and will allow the drum to sit in the water. Scrounge some bricks and put them in the trays to hold the drums higher. Even 3 or 4 broken brick pieces will work. Then you won't have to lift the drums to add fresh water.

I took another look at your pictures and I guess there are no openings at the bottom edges, so try the wicks through the center hole and pull them spaced evenly around the rootballl.

Last edited by BettyC-5; January 21, 2017 at 01:52 PM.
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Old January 21, 2017   #19
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If anything (((maybe)))) I would put gravel on the bottom and soil on top.
I would not bother with any rope or wick of any kind as in my opinion is worthless work time cost and contraptionization<< new word.
The capillary action of the soil will bring the water to the top.
If you aren't careful you will have a root rot swamp, it has to dry out some or at least be at a lever to where the water is in a constant state of transpiration.
In other words not stagnant.
The roots of a bigger plant will find that water.
A smaller plant will need help from top watering until they do find the water which wont be long.
If you do find stunted growth it will more than likely be too much water.
That soil needs to dry out a little not all the way but not sopping wet all of the time either.
My suggestion is homemade watering spikes.
Getting a plant to live outside its natural environment is as tricky thing but came be done.
The Indians here in some desert places took advantage of this bottom water by planting in stream beds with high water tables.
The disadvantage was flash floods.

So just forget the sponges ropes and other crazy things and bottom water carefully.
I have done it many times.
In your environment very carefully.
Worth
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Old January 21, 2017   #20
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No, you don't want to set the pot in the water tray. The soil will indeed "wick up" the water and establish a Perched Water Table (PWT), making that portion of the soil deadly to roots (drowning). The drums are perforated to prevent a PWT forming from e.g. rain or top watering, but they must be free to drain.

Ron could just go with top watering and they'd be fine. But he's trying to make life easier by putting together a self-watering contraption.

BTW, Ron, you said that you'd refill the trays every day. If you're going to be out slinging water every day, then the bottom-watering arrangement isn't saving you anything, is it?
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Old January 21, 2017   #21
murihikukid
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Thankyou..Some great ideas ... So later I will sit down and study them all...Worth...the idea is to turn a single tap on for say 10 minutes and because each drum tray will be fed from a single pipe the trays will replentish...The smaller planter drums will sit on a capillatry cloth tilL I have my drum system working and checked ...the soil will not sit in water ...the soil will only get water from wicks...In saying this after last seasons disaster with capilary cloth ...when I emptied the planter bags i was taken back by the amount of water in the soil below...It taught me that just taking a soil dampness from the top may be quite different to what the roots are sitting in...I will be taking things very carefully and I will have a drum with a plant that i can check everything out on....
Yes the polypropaline rope looks ideal it passed my test ...

Regards Ron
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Old January 22, 2017   #22
murihikukid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BettyC-5 View Post
Do use the polypropaline rope, it will last a long time. Organic rope, cotton, hemp, etc. will rot sooner. I would experiment using 2 or 3 small wicks through the openings at the edges and see how many it takes to keep the soil damp. I would worry more that your trays are too shallow and will allow the drum to sit in the water. Scrounge some bricks and put them in the trays to hold the drums higher. Even 3 or 4 broken brick pieces will work. Then you won't have to lift the drums to add fresh water.

I took another look at your pictures and I guess there are no openings at the bottom edges, so try the wicks through the center hole and pull them spaced evenly around the rootballl.
BettyC-5....I now have a polypropaline rope that I am sure will do the wicking ...The drums will not sit in the water or the soil in the drums will not sit in the water...as the bottom of the drums will sit on the top of the tray and its quite possible I will not use them but I admit I like them..Why..Well they do not hold much water...so the water has to refilled regularly and I would think that would be better than having stagnated water under the drum....Due to the fit of the trays the water would have to be pipe fed above the tray (through the plastic drum) base into the tray...

Yes there are openings so my job tonight while I am watching the cricket is to feed the polypropaline rope round the drum and take pictures of the ways this could be done....and then I will post them and wait for reaction ........

One aspect of under watering that I have as yet not come across is the feasability of feeding the plant from its reservoir with a fertilizer in it....Personally I would be comfortable with feeding my Miracle Gro on the top every 7-10 days..

Will post photos once I get them done..

Regards Ron
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Old January 22, 2017   #23
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Hi...I have some photos...Heres the ideas I have come up with ...Can I provide the soil enough water via the wicking..I just do not know ...But I presume if I use a Tasty Tom on an experimental unit..it will soon let me know...#1 photo is the easy method ..the 12mm rope is pushed into the cavity and sits there..It would be clean with no soil getting into the drum but would the soil get enough water from it...#2 method is different ...I hope my photos are good enough to see how the rope is (in #2 and #3) fed round the bottom of the splines which means the loop between each spline is upwards to the soil and could be any height into the soil but I feel without modification would allow soil into the tray if the loop was too high.....it could also be reversed IE the loop could be put downwards if the rope was fed over each spline within the drum....This could possibly be a cleaner method ny keeping soil going into the tray but probably supply less water...and of course there is also a centre hole that could be wicked or just closed off ....What I have read is that roots will grow if they reach out for their water so a centre wick could be of no benefit in fact the roots could go for their water there and create a problem....But I am only a beginner?? I welcome any comment 's...
Thanks Ron
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Old January 22, 2017   #24
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You need to get 2-3 rope ends hanging in the water, no need to thread them around the bottom. I would cut the rope in lengths that will reach from the bottom of water tray to at least 3/4 of the way up to the top of where the soil line will be. Thread them through the slits and fill with soil keeping the rope spaced evenly up through the soil in the drum. I can not tell how big your rope is, but you may be able to separate the white and green strands and make it go further. If you are worried about the soil falling into the water lay some newspaper, paper towels, tissue paper or something thin over the openings and fill with soil. The soil will settle on the paper and stay put. I do that all the time because I don't want soil all over everything. I wick small plants but have not tried anything this large. Just put one together and experiment.

And you could put fertilizer in the tray if you wanted to, but you would have more control over the amount if you did it from the top.

Another thing. when wicking, most advice is to add plenty of perlite to your mix so the soil gets enough air. You were mixing 1 part perlite to 2 parts soil if I remember right, so that would work.
But then I realized the drums have lots of holes for air so you may not need that much.
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Old January 22, 2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BettyC-5 View Post
. I would cut the rope in lengths that will reach from the bottom of water tray to at least 3/4 of the way up to the top of where the soil line will be. Thread them through the slits and fill with soil keeping the rope spaced evenly up through the soil in the drum. I can not tell how big your rope is, .
BettyC-5...Thanks for you comments ..the rope I can get in sizes UP to 12mm thick ..the size I used in the photos is 12mm ..now I think you mean to bring the rope up to 3/4 of the soil depth ...I must be able to think of someway to hold the rope lengths in a vertical position unless I have the wicks running verticly up the sides of the drum ..do you see any problem with that?...Do you agree not to have any wicking in the centre hole ?
Regards Ron
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Old January 22, 2017   #26
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Yes, you want it up in the soil but not exposed at the top. You can tape the ends to the sides, but pull them away from the very edge as you fill it with soil. They don't have to be perfectly vertical.
You can put the wicks in the center hole if that is easier, just have them all in the water.

OR, you can secure the ends underneath at the center hole and just use your hands to lift the rope as you are filling the drum with soil. You don't want to have the rope coming out of the center hole when you are almost done. Then unsecure them to fit in the water.

If you do 3 and it seems to be wicking too much water you can pull one out.
Your rope is about 1/2 inch by my measurements and I would separate the strands. Get one planted and see how it works.
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Old January 22, 2017   #27
kurt
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Default Are you married to underneath watering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by murihikukid View Post
Kurt..I bought a small sample of polypropaline rope and it has drawn water up out of a jar so it could well be the best I can get....
Cheers Ron
If you can wrap your mindset around the principle of gravity,gravity water systems,pressure water systems and use some of your containers,maybe this video will help.One half of our kin live in the Alps,I spent a lot time there and in the NE of USA in the mountains if you will.When I transplanted to Florida I was lost,no landmarks here,all flat,9 foot above salt water with a band of fresh potable water at 40-60 foot on top holding down salt water.S Florida.Our bedrock is coral(dolomite,limerock)basically underneath the whole state butting out as the peninsula it is.It took me years to get water out for irrigation and drinking.Buy the use of a well,2HP pump that fills cleverly placed 55gallon drums at different elevations,basic guerrilla style plumbing and now have H20 24/7...365 days.When fired up it will fill 5 55 gallon drums 1hour maybe,then 2 weeks commodity watering for garden,maters,odds and ends.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZmP0vsRBZ8
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Old January 22, 2017   #28
dmforcier
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So how are you proposing to use it?
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Old January 23, 2017   #29
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The best wicking material I found after testing 4 different materials for 24 hrs has been the microfiber clothes by far.....cheers....
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Old January 23, 2017   #30
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The best wicking material I found after testing 4 different materials for 24 hrs has been the microfiber clothes by far.....cheers....
Your blood pressure must be over the top.
You go through one heck of a lot of soy sauce.

Worth
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