Turn air pruning pots into self watering/air pruning pots?

snarkinJuly 27, 2014

Hello!
I have Dirt Pots (like Smart Pots or other cloth air pruning pots) and I'm wondering if there's any way to build something around them to make them self-water? Right now I'm using water- and wine bottles, but I'm hoping I can create something more long term...

Thanks!

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Jay Part Shade (Zone 10B, S21, Los Angeles)

Hey dude, absolutely, the way to do it is create a wicking bed underneath the pot. You can use pretty much anything that's a few inches deep. I did a quick search for "wicking smart pot" and came up with the link below (it's for growing weed) but applies to veggies and more -- you set the smart pot on top of a wicking substrate like perlite, pumice or a capillary mat and the water will be pulled up towards the plant. The pot doesn't sit in the water, rather there's a inch or so of air between the water level and the pot, allowing water to be pulled up by the plant as needed.

You can also create a float valve system tied to a hose so that when the water level goes down below a certain point, it triggers the valve and lets more water in. These are used all the time in rain gutter grows. I'm going to do it with my veggies in Root Pouches and $1 oil drip trays from the dollar store.

Finally, wicking systems (like Earthtainers and Earth Boxes) only really work for one grow season. And they only work with normal soil mix, not 5-1-1 or gritty. For growing veggies in one season, self wicking is fantastic. For trees and perennials, go with a drip system, otherwise you run into all kinds of issues such as decomposing mix, severe salt buildup and more.

Hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Self Wicking Smart Pots

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:36AM
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