Making the Earthtainer bigger - And Permanent!~
I have experimented with the Earthtainer in its original form, and it is awesome!
My question is this: Is it possible to increase the scale of the design?
I work with an NGO in northern Kenya which, among other things, is seeking to increase farming output. We aren't looking to start an agribusiness - we simply want to feed people. The environment is arid, at best, though bore hole wells are capable of feeding a supply of water. Having an Earthtainer-style grow system and its water control would be beneficial, as you can imagine.
Basically, I want to build a raised garden bed using rail road ties, lumber, and plastic sheeting. I would line the inside of a raised rail road tie bed with a plastic material so that it could act as a pool of water. Above, I would suspend a soil box using lumber and the necessary supports. Just as the Earthtainer works (water access tubes, overflow points, and all), only with local supplies - and much bigger.
For another way to conceptualize it, think of an MegaEarthtainer that is 8 Earthtainers long and two Earthtainers wide. 8 Earthtainers strolling the desert two-by-two. Now imagine two sets of eight. 4 sets. 8 sets. 16 sets.
Could I construct this MegaEarthtainer using 8 wicks of standard Earthtainer size spaced as they would be naturally? Would I need a different sized wick? Would I need 8 separate water compartments - and if so, could the soil box above be one entire box or would it need to be split up into 8 compartments as well?
This is a serious project, with wonderfully serious implications. The bonus is that after trying it out at home (in Indiana) and keeping you apprised with pictures and commentary, if successful, I will report the field results.
I hope this can happen!