In Small Space Gardening – Water from the Top, we looked at some ways to keep our gardens watered. In this post we will concentrate on ways we can efficiently keep our container gardening plants watered.
The soil in our containers will be loosely packed to allow for water drainage. If we have prepared our containers correctly, when we water from the top the water will go directly down to the roots of our plants with any excess water going out the drainage holes. Consequently the soil in the plant will dry out much quicker and we will be watering our plants again fairly soon. What if there was another way to water that wouldn’t be so labor intensive? Well, there is.
Water from the bottom
This method is based upon the principle of osmosis. Take a look around at the vegetation surrounding a permanent body of water that has an earthen bank and you will notice the abundance of growth. The wicking effect has brought sufficient water to the plant to allow it to grow and flourish.
How does it work?
How do we achieve this in our own small space gardening containers?
There is a commercial product on the market that contains a water reservoir in the bottom of the container. The Earthbox is a self contained growing box that allows for a soil bed over an easily refillable water reservoir. Designed in such a manner that as the soil around the roots of the plants begins to dry out, water will be wicked to replenish the moisture that has been used. With this method, the plants will be watered when they need water rather than when we think they need watering. Our job is to monitor the water level in the reservoir to ensure it does not run dry.
In addition, we can purchase a commercially available self watering system for our EarthBoxes that works like the drip irrigation system mentioned in Small Space Gardening – Water from the Top. This system connects directly to the hose bib and supplies water to the containers on demand.
If we are handy with tools, it is possible to construct growing containers similar to the EarthBox that perform in a similar fashion. You can do a Google search in the top left hand corner of this web site. We can start with the term “make your own EarthBox” and review the possibilities. In addition, we should not neglect searching for videos that can help in providing the visualization we might need.