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Reply #10: I've fiddled with sub-irrigation planters this year. [View All]

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MissB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-17-11 06:27 PM
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10. I've fiddled with sub-irrigation planters this year.
Edited on Sun Jul-17-11 06:29 PM by MissB
I have a fenced raised bed garden as well, but I was intrigued by the idea of sub-irrigation.

I read a lot on the various options and decided not to go with the pre made earthbox. Nothing wrong with them, but I just thought I could go cheap and make my own.

I bought a bunch of black plastic window boxes from Lowes, and used corrugated black pipe in the bottom for the water reservoir. The pipe is cut in half, with the cut edge of the half circle facing the bottom. This is the water reservoir. I drilled a hole in the end of the planter at the peak of the half circle to allow for overflow drainage. I used a weed fabric as a barrier between that and the soil (slicing some slits along the length to let the roots find the water). A pipe is stuck in one corner so I can fill the water reservoir as needed. I don't put a plastic layer on top, but you will see those all over the web if you look at sub-irrigated planters. Since I live in a mild climate, I'm not worried about evaporation as much.

Mine kind of look like these: (especially the second grey box)

I planted lemon cucs in one, and zucchini in two others. I did radishes in one, carrots in another and basil/lettuce in the last one.

I had six lemon cuc starts that I bought from the organic farm supply (the ones I started from seed didn't make it, as the slugs got them when i set out the transplants). I put two lemon cuc starts in a raised bed and four in one of the sub-irrigated planters. There is truly no comparison. The ones in the ground are growing, but not as well as the ones in the sub-irrigated planter. Those are easily 3x as big and lush.

The zucchini are also amazingly lush.

I did buy one sub-irrigated planter from IKEA. It is a large round planter on wheels. I put a cherry tomato in there. It's over 5' above the planter with lots of blooms and set fruit.

It won't take the place of my more traditional raised beds, but I do see it as a good supplement. Plus, I find it easier to keep the slugs out (copper tape n planters).
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