Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sub-Irrigated Planter

UPDATED: 10-JAN-2013
So my Fresno chili peppers did quite well until the leaf cutter ants found them. Literally (and I mean that literally) over a 24 hour period, they stripped all but maybe 10% of the leaves off of the plant. Since it was in the bucket it was easy enough to move 50' or so feet from where it has been. About 3 weeks later, after the plant had mostly recovered, they did it again. At that point, I was pretty disgusted and frustrated and pretty much left it alone after that. I was later able to grab a handful of peppers as they ripened and that was that. In September the plant actually re-bloomed a bit and put out a few peppers but I was not actively tending it and I left them to the birds, or ants.
The bucket was within a couple of inches of the grass in both locations so this spring I am going to plant something else in it and have it up on our deck. It gets unobstructed west sun (no trees for blocking) and so gets incredibly hot there from June through August. It will be interesting to see if the small volume will make it impossible to keep the soil from getting too hot for the roots. Maybe I'll wrap it in foil or something.

Below originally posted on 29-MAR-2012:

DIY Sub-Irrigated Planter.
Sort of a very poor man's Earthbox.
I have planted a single Fresno Chili pepper plant.
All of the parts cost about $30-40. Including plant.
Not shown in the pics are some dowels I bought to help support the plant once it gets bigger.

I take two 5gal buckets and drill small holes in the "inner" one. Also a larger hole to take the water bowl.
There is a 3rd hole to allow the watering tube to extend into the water reservoir.

Here's the outer bucket, with 1 of 2 overflow holes to handle excess watering.

Here's the water bowl. It hangs down into the water reservoir that exists between the inner and outer buckets.

Here's a closeup of the water bowl. There are three other slits like this one to allow reservoir water to make its way into the soil.

Stack the drop the water bowl into the large hole and then stack the two buckets.
Stick the watering tube down into the reservoir. Fill inner bucket with soil:

Cover the top of the bucket with plastic and stick the plant trough a slit in the plastic.

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