It’s hot! Really Hot! I am growing a few plants on a sunny back porch and they love it, but I have to water them every day or they will wilt in no time. Each plant is about 4 feet tall and growing in three gallon buckets. I am scared I’ll have a stoner moment and forget to water them some morning. Is there a passive system I can use that I can make myself that is cheap? Any advice would be great.
Thanks In Advance
The first thing I can suggest for you to do is to transplant your plants into larger containers filled with a soil that has been fortified with water absorbent crystals. These crystals swell up with water and slowly release it as the soil dries. This will extend the time between watering a bit.
Next, I think a simple passive wick system would help you a lot. A wick system sucks water from a reservoir and disperses it throughout the soil via capillary action. I had one of these simple systems on a balcony that received ample amounts of direct Texas sun. The plant did great and the whole setup was cheap and easy to build.
You will need the following:
Two 5 gallon (23 liter) buckets per plant.
Ten yards (9.1 meters) of ½ inch (1.27mm) nylon cord per plant.
Enough water crystal enriched soil to fill the buckets.
In one of the buckets drill 10 evenly spaced holes in the bottom. The holes should be just large enough to pass the nylon cord through. Next, cut the cord into 3 foot (91.5 cm) long pieces. Pass one piece of cordage through each hole and secure with knots on the inside of the bucket. If you do it right about half the cord should be on the inside of the bucket and half dangling out the bottom. Melt or tape of the bottom tip to keep it from unraveling. Then unravel the half that is inside the bucket. When you are done there should be 10 neat cords hanging out the bottom and a nest of unraveled cordage inside the bucket.
When you transplant the plants into the bucket, work the new medium and unraveled cordage evenly throughout the bucket. This will help the cordage disperse the water evenly.
A second bucket will act as the reservoir. Make sure that you maintain the high waterline just underneath the planting bucket. If the water is too high it will saturate the roots and kill your plants. To keep a vacuum from forming and to aid in refilling the lower bucket, drill a hole in the side of the bucket low enough that the top bucket won’t interfere. Use a funnel to help you pour new water through the hole.
Some growers like to use a community reservoir to simplify things, but if you need to move your plants in a hurry the individual bucket system is a hell of a lot easier.