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what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type drip

Posted by tecnico none (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 22, 12 at 13:14

hello well would like to know which of these methods is more better for indoor plants, im planing in using 5-1-1 and gritty mixes for some plants and would to know of these methods is good for them and what are the diferences between them ? thanks : )


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

I much prefer top watering, where the physics of forcing water into the air pockets created by a larger particled medium has the effect of causing the necessary exchange of gases and fresh oxygen to the root zone. Gases are forced out, while fresh oxygen is pulled in.

Bottom watering does not necessarily wick moisture up into such medium evenly, I have found.

I would not use a drip system because of the aforementioned gas/oxygen exchange, plus the fact that not all plant types like being constantly moisture laden.

I think Tapla and/or others can much better explain... the above being my opinions formed through personal observation within my own unique growing environment.


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 13:10

It depends on your perspective. If you place a premium on convenience, then self watering or the bottle/drip devices might sound appealing. If you ask the question from the perspective of 'what's best for the plant', then proper watering from the top wins - hands down. Watering from the top affords the opportunity to flush the soil of accumulating salts, which meas you can also keep nutrient ratios from becoming badly skewed in the soil solution. It also forces a change of air in the root zone as you water, forcing out potentially noxious gases and bringing in fresh air as the water moves through the soil.

Al


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

thanks Al and Jodik for the data , and yes it does has more sense and better for the plant as Al's says to top water : )


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

  • Posted by nil13 z21 Mt. Washington L (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 17:02

Bottom watering can also force gasses out of the medium if you flood the container substantially like an ebb and flow hydro setup.


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

  • Posted by nil13 z21 Mt. Washington L (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 17:05

Bottom watering can also force gasses out of the medium if you flood the container substantially like an ebb and flow hydro setup.


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

Hi Comrado.

Thank you for the nice Thanksgiving wish!!

I personally like watering from the top. Always have but to me, if offers me as better feel for what my plants receive. It gives me a good opportunity to actually see what is being taken in to the plant and how it responds..

Up close and personal to me!! ;-)

My opinion of course!!

Laura


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

hello Laura , good that you liked it : ) , and well the fact i was wondering between the diferent options of watering was that i saw those nice looking self waterig planters : D , and they do sell the convinience of not having to water the plants so often veryyy well : P jeje but as Al says if its for the convienience of the plant , which is the basic subject of interest , then yes the top watering is the best for all the reasons Al, Jodik , you and others have stated : ) , so that been clarified and justified , the next thing i need recomendations is on the screening media size i need to screen the pine bark, oil absorber ( in substitution for turface ) and chicken grit ,

Laura , having you been here in PR , you know that metal screen mesh we use for the moskitos in our windows , is that the apropiate size for screening out this "ingredients" or is it too small : ( , eventhough i do think its small, could it work a pre-screen to get out those very small particles and then use the apropiate size of wire mesh to screen out them ?

if any photos of the apropiate screen size could be posted would be thanked : )


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 11:50

In a perfect world, all your particles would be between 2.5-4.5 mm. We usually screen Turface over aluminum insect screen and use the fines for something other than soil. This is because Turface is a little smaller in particle size than what would be considered ideal, so to utilize more of the product and save $, we sacrifice a little. Since the grit usually comes prescreened here, we also screen that over insect screen to remove the dust. The bark can be slightly larger to allow for some break-down during the time your plants are in the soil, so bark from 3-6 mm is good. Here's a picture of 2 different types of screens I use, but others use different things or types of screens to suit their purposes.

Al


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

I have been looking for all these information of top watering and self-watering. I have few questions here.
Should I change the soil mixed according to the way I am going to water my plants?

The top watering and self-watering may have different result according to the composition of the mixed soil preparation I feel. Most of my containers do not have drainage hole and wick but self-watering. I did not plan very well to start container gardening before I start. After I found this website I started to know a little bit about container gardening. Then I realized that containers without drainage hole are not a good choice for container gardening. Next time I will buy self-watering containers with drainage hole. Still thinking to make holes and use some kinds of water proof plugs to seal it again.

For the young plants usually I do top watering a bit because I think the roots are not long enough to reach the water from the bottom. On the other hand the surface of the soil getting wet and small insects started appear and flying around the plants and have fungus too. Sometimes I cover the upper soil with dried coco fiber it looks a bit helpful. Right now as much as possible I avoid top watering except spray the leafs. All the containers are inside my house just like a kind of companion plants.

I have only few containers so I monitor regularly according to the health of the plants I do what it is necessary to do.


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 25, 12 at 9:32

I think that once you start to understand how soils work, you'll find that it's necessary to use a more water-retentive mix if you tend to water via capillarity - by the soil 'sucking' water up from a reservoir of water below the soil. You'll have to decide for yourself how well that works for you.

I water everything from the top, and I much prefer it to SWCs.

Al


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

No big surprise, here... but I would agree with Al. :-)

I have never found that the Gritty Mix actually "sucks up" much water, at all... therefore, it makes more sense to top water.

If a much finer particle size is used... say, like plain coco-peat... it will suck up copious amounts of water. However, I would be sacrificing aeration and amount of time that said moisture sat within that root zone... and I'm not willing to do that.

I've seen some interesting semi-hydroponic setups for orchid growing, and they work on the same type of principle... but I have not tried anything of the sort yet, as I've been pleased with the performance of the medium I mix, myself.

There are several ways to skin a cat, it is said... it's all dependent upon what works for you in your unique growing environment, given the amount of time you want to devote, and the results that make you happy, in my opinion.


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

Hi Conrado,

Here are some pictures that you were asking for. My screen were taken from Al's screens. My DH made them a little heavy, but they work well. I would always advise to use 1X4 instead od 2x4's LOL.. I have built up my muscles. I dare not complain, because he saw Al's pics and wanted to make them as close as possible for me to enjoy. The two Screens that i use the most are the 1/4 inch screen to use for the bark to sift thru for the use of Gritty Mix. The 1/2 inch i really dont use that often unless i am screening for the 511 mix. But the insect screen that you are refering to would work fine to screen out the fines for Turface and Granite. I just use a kitchen strainer from my local walmart or any grocery store. It works and i also collect the fines to use for sowing seeds later.

Here are a few pics of my screens. AL has the best pics, but here are mine!! Hope you like them!! ; )

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granigrit
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Turface
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Gritty Mix
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These strainers work great!!!

Hope this helps Conrado!!!

Take care,

Laura


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

hello laura where did the pics go ?????????? : ( , they dont appear now i now i rapidly saw them yesterday and was gonna look at them in detail now and when a i came to see them they are gone : O


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

ok laura the pics appeared again : ) , so no prob : )


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RE: what is better : top watering , self-watering or bottle type

I'm getting those sieves at walmart today!! Hopefully they have them because I'm really hoping to finish this gritty mix project today so I can begin my experiments! :)


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