Self watering raised beds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by smithpc, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. smithpc

    smithpc Member

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    I saw an article in a magazine, I think it was Countryside, about a year and a half to two years ago about building raised concrete block beds with self watering.

    Unfortunately I've misplaced the mag. Do any of you have that article or remember which magazine it was in? I want to use this method for my garden this year but as luck would have it, that's the only magazine of my collection that I can't find.

    Thanks much.
     
  2. Dchall_San_Anto

    Dchall_San_Anto Active Member

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    Would an Earthbox work for you?

    www.earthbox.com
     

  3. cwgrl23

    cwgrl23 Chief Vegtable Grower :) Supporter

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    I like the look of the Earthboxes but they are out of my price range. I am building several large raised vegatable beds this year. Does anyone have any plans to build something that is close?

    You would be my hero! :worship: :)

    Any other plans or ideas to help reduce watering or increase self watering?
     
  4. Dchall_San_Anto

    Dchall_San_Anto Active Member

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    You might be able to simulate an EarthBox with a couple Rubbermaid bins. I'd start with at least an 18 gallon model and a smaller one to fit upside down inside the bigger one. The top of the smaller bin needs to fit flat on the bottom of the big one and leave room for soil to go all the way to the bottom of the box. The EarthBox depends on water wicking up through the soil from the bottom of the box.

    Drill a bunch of holes in the small one. Drill one large hold for a one inch PVC fill tube.

    Drill a drain hole in the big one about 4 inches from the top rim.

    Turn the little one upside down in the big one and install the fill tube.

    Fill it with potting mix.

    As for a top cover, you could use Saran wrap or any plastic tarp or film.
     
  5. I think the countryside issue you are looking for is the March/April 1998 issue and the article was: "Simplify gardening with automatic watering - Gardening in Arizona without a garden hose" and can still be ordered at countryside magazine
    Examples of building instructions for smaller outlets in a rubber maid bin or a bucket can be found at

    http://homepage.mac.com/pondman/container/container1.html

    http://www.users.qwest.net/~user15805/bobs_box.html

    http://www.dougs.org/doug/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=4#14 (see photos also)

    http://www.oldfashionedliving.com/vegetablegarden.html

    also make a search on the garden web forums with "earthbox" or "self-watering" if interested in these containers.

    I myself don't have practical experience , just have been gathering some material.

    Greetings
    Kurt
     
  6. cwgrl23

    cwgrl23 Chief Vegtable Grower :) Supporter

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    Has anyone built the container garden metioned in the Countryside article? I would love to know what it is made out of. I don't want to buy the artice and then find out that the matrials are not in my price range to build. Anyone else create their own?
     
  7. smithpc

    smithpc Member

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    :haha:

    Thanks sooooooo much. You are a real angel. I've been driving myself crazy tearing up the house looking for that lost copy. I just reordered it from Countryside.
     
  8. smithpc

    smithpc Member

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    He used concrete blocks and pcv pipes. You can make the rows as long as you wish and almost any shape. I'm thinking of making them rectangular 3' wide beds and unsure of the length at this time. It looks really doable.

     
  9. The beds in the article are confined by cinder blocks, but thats not essential to the construction. There are some PVC tubes to distribute the water underground and create little reservoirs of water and the earth partly reaches into the reservoirs and so sucks the water up against gravity to the root area of the plants. Also he has a little watering tank similar to that one of a toilet with a floating valve so that just so much water is replaced as has been sucked up by the roots of the plants.
    Thats the best I can describe. I would invest the four dollars for the issue. It will in any case give you some good ideas.

    Greetings
    Kurt
     
  10. smithpc

    smithpc Member

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    What is an earthbox?

     
  11. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would be real interested in what you find out. I have gardened in raised boxes for 20 years. My current boxes have a spigot at each box. My boxes are 4' x 20'. I have tried every kind of watering system or device including soaker hoses, store bought sprinklers of every variety, homemade sprinklers and sculpting the soil to control where the water goes. I have never found an arrangement that is maintenance free.

    Besides, part of gardening is being out there and working and watching and nibbling. A self maintaining garden is an oxymoron.
     
  12. cwgrl23

    cwgrl23 Chief Vegtable Grower :) Supporter

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    Gobug- most of the time I am home so that I can water my garden on a regular basis. This year I will be doing more traveling than normal and don't want my garden to suffer. :waa: I just want to make sure that they don't completely dry out on me while I am gone. We are also in a drought up here and would like to get the most out of my watering.
     
  13. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    lots of mulch

    have a friend drop by if you're gone more than a week
     
  14. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    One of the garden supply catalogs last year had water timers for $10 each. Thought this was reasonable. Think it was Gardens Alive but not sure.
     
  15. Dchall_San_Anto

    Dchall_San_Anto Active Member

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    An Earthbox is the box described and offered for sale at the website I included in the previous post and that you included in your question. If you click on that link, you will be able to read about it.
     
  16. smithpc

    smithpc Member

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    Thanks David........I noticed the info after I asked that question and went to the web site. They look pretty nice but a little expensive for a large garden. I may try one or two for tomatoes though.

    Ruth


     
  17. CMATE

    CMATE Well-Known Member

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    Hi Cwgrl,
    perhaps an idea would be to lay out some drip hoses & then cover them with a thick mulch of straw & connect a timer to your hose.

    Another idea is to share your harvest with a neighbour or two & have them water/monitor your garden while away.

    Planting closely together also is a 'natural' type of mulching & preventing evaporation.