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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old January 19, 2017   #1
murihikukid
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Default Watering from underneath.

Hi... I am hoping to have a self watering system on my plants ...So far I have not found a material suitable as a wick so I intend to use soil as the wick...A Piece of PVC pipe goes through the centre of my planter from the reservoir below ..the pipe has sponge on the bottom and soil sits on top of the sponge in the pipe and feeds the soil above.....I hope to have all planters connected to one water supply which will be turned on once or twice a day to refresh each reservoir ..because everything is on concrete any overflow will simply dryup....

I wonder if anybody sees any problems with my idea...Thanks Ron
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Old January 19, 2017   #2
KC.Sun
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You'll need to be careful with the soil mixture you use. Or it may not wick up.

If you search earthbox.com you can look into how they build this boxes. The idea is very similar to yours.

I can see the sponge having buildup that could interfere with water absorption and wicking. (I.e. Algae growth, blocked pores,...)
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Old January 19, 2017   #3
dmforcier
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My take (and I could be wrong) is that dirt does not have the capillary potential of wicking fabrics because it is not composed of closely spaced fibers, but of discrete particles.

Also, you have to consider the mass of dirt as a whole, not just what is in the pipe. As per tapla's articles on GardenWeb and elsewhere regarding PWT (perched water table), the rest level is referenced to the lowest point of the contained soil. The water would rise to the PWT level measured from the sponge, and might not even reach the container, depending on the soil (e.g. average particle size).

Of course, the roots will find the water by growing down the pipe, but that won't support a large plant.

Worth a try, but I'll be surprised if it works well.
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Old January 19, 2017   #4
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Another concern would be fungus and molds- I looked at the bottom of your washer drums and they many nooks and crannies to accumulate and grow molds and such there if kept in a damp environment.

That would worry me about using a bottom watering method.
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Old January 19, 2017   #5
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Hi..Thanks for the comments..I have tryed various materials for wicks and have yet to find anything that draws water up....I have yet to try polypro???? braided rope..I wonder if a peat moss would wick up water??If anybody knows of a wicking material I would appreciate knowing...I have to be honest ...I thought I read somewhere that the soil is a good wicking material but I never thought of the roots growing down the tube....My main concern is molds etc...Having used capilary cloth in the past I know what can happen >>>
I have found round shallow trays in the garden dept that my washing machine drums sit perfectly on the top of so have taken some photos ..which I will post later as the wind has died down ...the sun is trying to shine..and I have to fix my Greenhouse Roof ...Back soon.. Cheers Ron

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Old January 19, 2017   #6
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I'm gonna let you guys do this for awhile and then give my opinion.
Not by any means am I saying anyone is wrong by any stretch.
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Old January 19, 2017   #7
murihikukid
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Hi here are photos >>i have tryed to take them at angles etc that show where the tray with water would be ,where the drum would sit and the height of the drum above the tray ....I could be wrong but would fungi grow there???

The tray is such a good fit I would drill a hole horizontally in the plastic above the tray which would do nothing except feed water into the tray.......Its just the wicking that concerns me and whether one would be enough...I know how wet soil can get sitting on a capilary cloth and I suspect the problems I had last season were due to the underwatering system I used...Thats why I want to have one that the water gets completely replentished regularly....Cheers Ron
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Old January 20, 2017   #8
dmforcier
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I don't think I'd worry about fungus growing inside the drum.

I would worry about that amount of water being sucked up in an hour by a big plant.
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Old January 20, 2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmforcier View Post
I don't think I'd worry about fungus growing inside the drum.

I would worry about that amount of water being sucked up in an hour by a big plant.
Hi ..I presume you mean the amount of water in the tray ? yes ...I am looking out for a better tray ?? I would say my $22 Tasty tom's would gobble up a tray in a short time ...of course only my "best" varieties will be in drums and I am a long way from establishing what they are....Hopefully I will get some interest in my add in tomorrows paper re Tomato Plants for sale...I have too many and they are selling not for profit but pay for the tub they are in...I do not want too many people seeing my secret methods???..I will get some peat moss tomorrow and some polyprop???? braided rope that i read will suck up to 9 inches..???
Today was a change ,,some wind that was not too bad ,some sun that helped me do some work...If only it lasts...mind you with cricket,snooker and an inaugeration tonight (I think) I do not know how much I will be able to do this weekend..
Re the tray //We do not pay for water here so i could have a continual feed to my trays and any overflow will not do any damage...

Cheers Ron
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Old January 20, 2017   #10
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sorry i reposted
Cheers Ron

Last edited by murihikukid; January 20, 2017 at 04:51 AM. Reason: repeat
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Old January 20, 2017   #11
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We here in s Florida have a lot of experience with H2o.You seem like a enterprising ,resourceful bloke .Raise your source and let gravity work in your favor.Imagine the Romans moved water from the Alps to Rome and even raised cisterns along the way.I personally have moved the water across a spit of land (horseshoe bend)using a 200 ft 3" good old Manila rope (borrowed from some abandoned river barges)with a seed implanted every foot.Note this was a Boyscout type camping trip,nothing nefarious here.The polys need pressure/ flow and gravity to jumpstart the flow(priming)Manila is organic and some great sponging substance.All your Earthboxes use a wick of sorts.You can experiment with raised
cisterns,water towers as seen in city roofscapes.As a side note,the water you see in those towers is not the drinking water,just a gravity vehicle.If you dare open the lid on those(ghetto rooftop pools)it is not pretty.Trick is to have a overflow system system to keep flow fresh,and not have sitting stagnant,skeeter producing mass of green sludge.Pull all your fresh H2o from the bottom.Establish your layout,grades,terrace if you will.Have fun.
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Old January 20, 2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmforcier View Post
I don't think I'd worry about fungus growing inside the drum.

I would worry about that amount of water being sucked up in an hour by a big plant.

Not so much inside the wash tubs as under neath- all those compartments on the bottom, is where I would think it may be creating a haven for diseases.
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Old January 20, 2017   #13
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imp..I would hope with the cleaning I have done that at this point they are squeeky clean ...and I thought that they should remain that way as they should not come into contact with anything ...However you would know about this ...I could try one drum and see what happens ....I could keep the soil level low and just lift it off the tray and check it...At long last we have a reasonable day so I have to get a back door on as thats where our prevailing wind comes from....Then I have to put a front door on ??? which is on the roof so I have to get it down and put another up??? Why?? I never had the sense to keep the glass door with runners etc on it apart for a front door while its twin was put aside..twin that is apart that it has no runners/wheels...Cheers Ron...
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Old January 20, 2017   #14
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Kurt..thanks for your comments ..would not the source be the city's water tower ....Manila Rope ..Yes I can buy that from a camper shop......With a tray that overflows the water will always be fresh when supplied by water all the time .....My biggest concern is getting the water to the soil? even if I could find a good wicking material would one wick be sufficient ?? I have to be honest I never thought of all the roots making a beeline to the centre hole where the wick is supplying water...I will just experiment with one drum and manually water the rest...Regards Ron

PS I could put manila rope round in the cavity on the bottom of the drum then water hopefully would be supplied to the soil 360 degrees and do away with a centre wick .....I presume the roots will spread out then to get the water... ????

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Old January 20, 2017   #15
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Default Manila Rope...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kurt View Post
We here in s Florida have a lot of experience with H2o..
Kurt i have spent two hours biking round town visiting outdoor shops...Only one Guy new what Manila Rope was.....There is an outdoor shop in Auckland who sell a large range of it....so will have to buy online......

Could you reassure me that manila rope will absorb water uphill cause that would save me a lot of work and money...Thanks Ron
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