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Self-watering or not?

Posted by Lori615 MI 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 14, 13 at 8:05

I'm brand new to this forum - what a great place to learn! I am expanding my container vegetable garden on my deck this year and am trying some new things. I'll have tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, salad greens, peas, carrots, beans, herbs, strawberries and blueberries. I have two 4' x 2' x 22" deep wooden boxes that my father and I built this winter (I may modify them to be shallower, maybe only 16" deep); the rest will be in pots - some old, and some that I will purchase. I have already purchased a couple self-watering containers and am planning to get more.

My question - besides herbs, is there anything on my list that would be better off in regular pots rather than self-watering? Or in general, are self-watering containers the way to go?


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RE: Self-watering or not?

I used SWC for about 10 years and switched to regular pots.

Pretty much everything does better in regular pots compared to SWC. SWCs keep the plants too wet with poor aeration. No air flush that regular watering provides.

SWC will cut down some on watering, but not much unless you set up an elaborate automatic watering level system.

And if you have even one regular pot, you'll have to pull out the hose to water it, so you might as well as water everything else in regular pots at the same time.

2 nurseries where I live each put up displays of tomatoes in SWCs. Plants look great at the season start, but by mid season they are on the decline. In one nursery the plant stays reasonable healthy only because they top water it, basically using it as a regular pot. The other nursery which does bottom watering the tomato gets sick and dies prematurely.

Just my rant for spending so much time trying to optimize SWC growing, when I could have been getting better results with more traditional methods.


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