Container in container [Self-watering syatem]

jzigbe(11)December 31, 2012

Hi,
I live in Nairobi, Kenya.
I don't understand why people complicate things when building self-watering containers.
Can anyone tell me what can go wrong in just putting the container that has the soil and plant into another container [as shown in the photo]. All I do is make sure the bottom container contains enough water all the time. [It can get very hot here.]

Also, my potting soil is equal parts of red clay soil, coconut coir and compost. How can I improve on this?

My strawberry plant in this situation is doing very well.

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foolishpleasure

You may add some Vermiculite to your soil. I use sand too. Some plants love sand. I don't use self-watering I just water them making sure my container and my soil has good Drainage properties.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 3:06AM
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jzigbe(11)

Unfortunately vermiculite and perlite are very expensive here.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 3:45AM
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rina_

I think it all depends on location - in your case hot & probably not much rain? So your set-up make sense. I would think that pot-in-the-pot also insulates little from the heat. If it was somwhere where it rains a lot, standing water in that bottom container would create lots of problems (your bottom container doesn't have any drainage holes, right?).
For added drainage, maybe you can add some very small pebbles/shards (sharp surface is better than rounded/smooth) or realy coarse sand into your upper pot.

BTW, what other plants do you grow in containers?

This post was edited by rina_ on Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 12:29

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 12:27PM
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jzigbe(11)

Hi Rina,
You are right. The past 2 weeks it has rained a lot and I had to build a temporary shelter for all my potted plants - even the ones without the outer container.
Drainage is not a problem with the addition of the coconut coir.
Some of my bottom containers have holes that make sure only 2 inches of water remain there. The one in the photo does not have holes because the space between these 2 containers is narrow and I don't want to keep on adding water every 2 or 3 days.
I grow tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, swiss chard, kale, various herbs, etc. Bell peppers, strawberries and zucchini are doing exceptionally well in this setup. Younger plants [with few and small leaves]not so well.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 9:01PM
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