Self Watering Container Reservoir Idea
I have been trying to grow peppers and tomatoes in self watering containers and top-watered containers for the last two summers, and have slowly improved my growing success but have found it very difficult to keep the plants sufficiently watered if I'm away for more than a day or so.
For the SWC I use Raybo's 3:2:1 and for the top watered I use Al's 5:1:1. both in ~7 Gallon containers. The reservoir in the SWC holds about a gallon.
The issue is the plants are on a rooftop terrace where they get full sun for almost the entire day and it gets very hot in midsummer, causing the plants to burn through their reservoirs very quickly. If I'm away for the weekend I can expect to come back and find them all wilted, which can't be good for their productivity.
So I have a plan and wanted to check if anyone here had tried something similar first...
This summer I plan to construct reservoirs out of timber, with a polyethylene lining, punch holes in the pots (they're fiberglass or plastic) and out the pots in the reservoir. I plan to put a lid on top to help control evaporation, prevent algae bloom and discourage mosquitoes.
The containers will be 6 feet long by 1 foot wide by 6 inches deep (made out of 2x6 timbers) and each will have three pots in it. With a water depth of 3 inches the reservoir will be about 11 gallons, so about 3.5 gallons per plant. If I go to 4 inches water then the reservoir will hold about 15 gallons, or 5 per plant. Which should be plenty to keep the plants watered even if I'm not able to attend to them for a few days.
So... are there any issues with this plan?
Will I have problems with mold / fungus in the reservoir? Or no more than with any other SWC?
Is it OK to just put holes in the pots so water can get into them?
I plan to just have the pots filled with 3:2:1 mix, even in the section that will be submerged most of the time. Is there an issue there?
Would I need to put a ton of fertilizer in the reservoir?
Below is a rough sketch of what I plan, made looking along the reservoir so you only see one pot.