Self watering Home buckets

organicislandfarmer(9)June 3, 2010

I finally finished my first SWC out of the 5 gal buckets!! I made one that holds 2 gallons of water and still gives me 5 gal of dirt for the tomato plants!! I am so happy to be at this stage and will make more each day until all my plants are replanted in them and then I will start planning for seed starting in July! It is so nice to be on the mountain top of life, at least in gardening! I hope hurricane season is quiet this year!

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I've made SIP sub-irrigated planters out of drink bottles (for my rose propagation) and out of a milk jug (for my strawberries). I'm making a planter out of two 5 gallon milk jugs, one to hold the 2 gallons of water, another to plant my roses in. I have a hole for a pvc pipe to go down through the 5 gallon container that will hold the pipe, and drainage holes that I have threaded with strips from an old t-shirt to create a wicking action.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 11:11AM
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This is the first time I have written, but I have been reading all messages for the past 4 or 5 months. I got real interested in container gardening. I got the address for from one of the messages, and decided to try them--this is my results. I used 3-2-1 soil mixture (3 miracle-gro, 2 pine-bark fines, and 1 perlite). I planted them 20 March. I can not believe how large they have gotten. I have been enjoying the grape tomatoes for the past 10 days. I love this container gardening!!! I did not fertilize them until last Sunday and I put Miracle Gro tomatoe fertilizer on them. I don't know why they grew so big, but it seems to me they should have more tomatoes on them. What should I do? Do you think they took all the nutrients to grow so tall?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 1:08AM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

Glad to hear the 3:2:1 Combo Mix is working well for your SWC buckets. Did you add in some Dolomite Lime when filling your SWCs to prevent BER? What is the NPK of the fertilizer that you applied. Looking good!!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 1:16AM
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I did not use any lime, and I don't know what BER means. This is my first attempt to grow vegtables. I did some winter sewing a couple years ago, but never got into vegtables. The fertilizer that I applied was Miracle Gro tomato Plant Food - 18-18-21. Since then I read about the Foliage Pro 9-3-6, so I bought some of it and applied it as directed for a once a week strength. The leaves already look much greener since I applied the Foliage Pro. What do I need lime for? I am a real novice at this vegtable growing, but can't believe how the containers make such a difference. I planted a pepper in one of the buckets, and also planted one in a regular black nursery pot - about 3 or 5 gal size. The one in the bucket is so much larger and has a lot more flowers on it now.

This is a great site, and I am trying to read all messages I can, so I can have a better veggie crop. I love it. Any and all advise is welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks, Jeane

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 4:18PM
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Dolomite lime is good for containers, package says whats in it I also like some bone meal. The earthbox website explains it best. I love the global buckets site, and their sip technique, I want to adapt my aquaculture tank to their process. I follow their two bucket system except I make the resevoir a little bigger. but now with the sip I wont have to since the water level will be pretty much constant!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 6:35AM
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Hi, how do you make the reservoir bigger. I got most of my white buckets (the ones I use for the bottom bucket from Burger King). I buy the orange buckets that I use for the top bucket from Home Depot. Sometimes the white buckets are made a little different and the orange bucket goes further down into the bottom bucket, so there is not as much room for the water reservoir--I have to add water to them more often.

Also, how much lime do you put in each bucket? Is lawn lime the same? What does it do for the plants?

I see you are from Florida. I live in the Panhandle and we had a horrible storm last night with 50 MPH winds and hard rain. It knocked over several of my buckets and broke some of the tomatoe vines on one plant. I stuck a few pieces in water, and I put a few just back in the bucket--hope they root for me because it was my favorite tomatoe--the grape one, which has been making lots of tomatoes.

Have to go out and clean up my yard now--it is a mess with branches, pine cones, etc. The rain was welcomed though.

Thanks, Jeane

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 11:32AM
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sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

I made two 5 gallon bucket swc's last year. I gave one to my mother and kept one for myself. It only holds about 3.75 gallons of soil and the resevior holds 1.5 gallon of water. I used the lid that the bucket came with for the bench. I've got a tomato plant in it thats trimmed to two vines and its doing fine. Anymore than 2 maybe 3 vines would be too much for this design.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 2:04PM
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I use half of a 3rd bucket as a riser to get a larger water reservoir:

Here's how I cut the 'middle' bucket for the riser:

The bottom piece gets used as the soil bench in another 5 gallon bucket for a smaller SWC that's a good size for parsley or smaller peppers. The bottom piece gets 4 notches trimmed from the sides so it sits down inside the bucket.

Here you can kind of see a notch in one of my soil bench inserts:

..and here's one of the smaller SWCs assembled (this one is a strawberry bucket, so it has some extra holes in the sides):

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 10:23PM
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I would like to start a garden like this how do i get started?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Ferretbee :

Does your container have a overflow outlet?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 9:20PM
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for all SWC's, what keeps the water from getting stagnant? I understand the water gets wicked by the soil but the resevere just sits there.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 5:39PM
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