insulation sleeves for buckets.

eeaieeaioh(6a)February 20, 2014

I have a self watering bucket system. This will be my second season. I encountered a few problems that I need to iron out before spring. Right now I am trying to tackle the problem with superheated soil.

I had a pepper plant that died late in the season last year. I noticed as I uprooted the plant that the soil in the bucket was almost too hot to touch. The soil was moist, the wicking system was working, but it was so hot I couldn't imagine anything growing in it. I have a 20 bucket system and this particular bucket was at the end of a row therefore took the full brunt of the evening sun on a 100� + day. It had not even the slightest bit of shade to protect it. I know the other buckets in the system heated up as well but probably not near as much as the end buckets because they found shade from other buckets or surrounding vegetation. I believe (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that my garden will benefit from having protection from the scorching sun. This year I have decided to make sleeves or jackets to cover the buckets and hopefully keep the soil cooler. This may not be an issue where you are from but here we can go on week after week stretches of over 100�s and I believe this problem of superheated soil is a major reason why my garden failed last year.

How you can help:
Have any of you experienced the same problem?

If so, how did you remedy it? What materials did you use?

Premeditated objection resolutions:
Some of you might say, "Just move the buckets D-bag!" Well before you say that, they can't be moved.

Others may suggest, "plant flowers at the base of the buckets or something." My response would be that the soil in this spot is not good for growing. Also, planting "ground dwelling" plants will require additional watering. I'm trying to establish a drought tolerant garden, I'd prefer to not have to water "ground dwellers."

I am looking forward to your response.

Be blessed.

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I've never faced this problem, but I would consider using Mylar emergency blankets, folded up and taped to the end buckets, to reflect the sunlight off of them.

Also, maybe put up some posts and run strips of shade cloth in key spots, so the sun and shade will alternate across the plants as the sun passes over.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 3:25AM
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I have the same problem, my containers are all on the south side of the house and they take the full brunt of the sun all day long. A couple of things I've tried that work to varying degrees are: Painting the containers with bright white latex paint and/or settting the containers inside a larger, light colored container with at diameter at least 2 inches greater than the one I'm using. I've considered, but not tried yet, using the silver flexible vent ducting sold at Lowes and HD. It comes in 25 foot lengths and various diameters that would slip right over a nursery container. . It's fairly inexpensive and 25 feet would do a lot of containers. I love the mylar blanket idea, I'm going to try it on my large containers this year. I think they even sell them at the dollar stores.

This post was edited by Beach_bums on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 8:00

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 7:58AM
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Thank you both for your replies. The mylar blanket or something like that would probably be easy to handle. I saw at home depot a 48 in. x 75 ft. roll of Radiant Barrier insulation blanket. It has the reflective surface like a mylar blanket but also a soft inside. A roll costs $60. [Yikes!!] But maybe I can use it like fabric and cut/sew individual jackets for each bucket. Beach_bums, I've never seen that flexible duct but if its large enough to slide over the bucket then that would make light work of the project.

Its sure gonna be ugly though. Haha. I get weird looks from passerby's for having 20 buckets and a barrel in the yard! The neighbours are really gonna love it now that they are pretty much gonna be wrapped in tinfoil. Ha ha.
Its not gonna be a pretty site...unless I do something like you, offbeatjenn, said with the posts and shade fabric.

Decisions decisions...

Thanks again for your replies. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Happy grow season.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:33AM
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I had an idea to help with my greenhouse heating up too much. The black fabric absorbs too much heat in the Gawga summers. My answer...mylar emergency blankets! They cost $1 each and can easily be wrapped around pots, pinned to the floor and it reflects light back up to the plants. I just thought of this over the winter so I will update you on how it goes. :-) If anyone has tried this and it failed please let me know before growing season.

Oops that's what I get for not reading all the posts :-)

This post was edited by Stargazer0506 on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 12:54

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Stargazer: I'll consider your response as my 3rd confirmation. Mylar blankets it is then!! Wish me luck.

Does anyone know what I can do to make them more aesthetically pleasing? Or should I just embrace the ugliness and make myself a mylar hat? That'd give the neighbors something to talk about.

This post was edited by eeaieeaioh on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 21:14

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 9:11PM
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My plan is to plant a 'wall' of cosmos on the west side of my containers. Give them late afternoon shade.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 10:41PM
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