is this self-irrigated window box too wet?

Brooklynrose(z7 NYC)May 4, 2013

Hi everyone,

I'm worried that I might have done something wrong when assembling my SIP window boxes, and that I might be drowning the plants. I used a variation on the method shown on Inside Urban Green: 20" window box with a long water bottle with holes in it as the reservoir, a length of pvc inserted vertically into the bottle as the fill tube, and a length of plastic tubing inserted horizontally from the water bottle thru the side of the planter for overflow drainage. The idea is that the soil around the water bottle acts as a wick and keeps the soil above it properly moist.

But when I add water, the soil around the bottle gets so wet that it's floating on top of a puddle. I fully planted one box and that wet soil wicked the water up to the top level of the soil within a few hours. The top soil isn't soggy, but it's as moist as if I just watered it from the top in the usual way.

Is my SIP providing too much water, or is this okay? I tried one with fewer holes in the bottle, so the soil around it took longer to get wet. I'm not sure if this is better or not, though.

None of the info I can find talks about how wet you should expect the soil to be when you add water to these SIP systems. Any help would be very appreciated!

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

If the top soil isn't soggy, but it's as moist as if you just watered it from the top in the usual way, then you should be ok. I'm no SIP expert, but I do have one 5 gal bucket SIP. At least it means that your soil is wicking well. The top soil should be moist.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Brooklynrose(z7 NYC)

Thanks so much, edweather! I'll plant the rest of the boxes and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:56PM
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