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Thread: DIY gardening containers

  1. #1
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Default DIY gardening containers

    I don't really have the kind of space for gardening but I sure enjoy reading everyone's posts here in the gardening forum.

    I wanted to share an article I came across this morning about containers where you (supposedly) can't over- or underwater your plants. Interesting, especially, because the containers are DIY and the plans are free. It looks pretty cool.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2291834/pagenum/all/#p2
    Enjoy!
    Art.

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Similar to what I do in my Green house on a gravity feed wicking system.
    Wick water from the bottom of the soil boxes.
    Works great, can leave to go fishing for a few days & not worry that the Gh is getting watered.
    I do some 5 gallon buckets similar method to. (cheap skate method)
    false bottom buckets with a water float indicator & a wick made from sphagnum moss.
    The trick is to mix the soil properly so it don't over water, I mix in about 4 cups of perlite with
    the soil in the buckets. Some of the tom plants roots find the wick & grow into the water (I call in mainlining). Maybe 1/2 way to hydroponic growing.
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    Finished bucket;
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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Thanks MRFISH Good read!

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    I've been seeing these all over the web. They seem be the latest 'hot item' in gardening. I've been thinking about building a few myself this summer to see how they do. IF you google 'self watering container' you'll find hundreds of examples.

    For those who aren't into the DIY you can buy the commercial ones. I saw them at Alaska Mill and Feed recently and I'm sure other garden centers have them too. They're a little too pricey for me though. Making my own out of rubbermaid bins will be a lot cheaper. Too bad they don't look as nice.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    I had seen the DIY self watering containers as posted by Mr Fish on the web previously, but didn't give them a lot of thought until now... However, doing a google search on Self Watering Containers, brings in a flood of knock offs... but one thing that should be mentioned - the original (??) engineer "Josh" has a web page out there with updates (Improvements) to his original... One thing he emphasizes is the fact you should NOT use a piece of PVC for a water tube but something less harmful see http://www.josho.com/gardening.htm
    I am in the process of building a level spot (terrace) where I can pour a concrete pad, then build a moderate green house... I am determined to grow some vine ripened tomatoes, that do not taste like cardboard...!!

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    Member garnede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    I had seen the DIY self watering containers as posted by Mr Fish on the web previously, but didn't give them a lot of thought until now... However, doing a google search on Self Watering Containers, brings in a flood of knock offs... but one thing that should be mentioned - the original (??) engineer "Josh" has a web page out there with updates (Improvements) to his original... One thing he emphasizes is the fact you should NOT use a piece of PVC for a water tube but something less harmful see http://www.josho.com/gardening.htm
    I am in the process of building a level spot (terrace) where I can pour a concrete pad, then build a moderate green house... I am determined to grow some vine ripened tomatoes, that do not taste like cardboard...!!
    If you want greenhouse tomatoes that do not taste like cardboard, then be sure to use your own soil. Potting mixes and growing mediums sold by big box stores are short of a lot of trace minerals. If you use the store bought stuff, mix it with your own soil and/or add rock dust. You can buy it at almost any sand and gravel plant. It will slowly release trace minerals back to the soil. That will give you healthier and tastier plants.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garnede View Post
    If you want greenhouse tomatoes that do not taste like cardboard, then be sure to use your own soil. Potting mixes and growing mediums sold by big box stores are short of a lot of trace minerals. If you use the store bought stuff, mix it with your own soil and/or add rock dust. You can buy it at almost any sand and gravel plant. It will slowly release trace minerals back to the soil. That will give you healthier and tastier plants.

    Where do you get "your own soil"? We've got dirt around the house, but nothing in the way of compost. Only real choice I think is to buy it somewhere. We got ours from a greenhouse place here, as opposed Lowes/Home Depot.
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmg View Post
    Where do you get "your own soil"? We've got dirt around the house, but nothing in the way of compost. Only real choice I think is to buy it somewhere. We got ours from a greenhouse place here, as opposed Lowes/Home Depot.
    JMG
    When I started my garden I bought a couple truck loads of "topsoil"... I assume the "topsoil" came from somewhere here in the valley... but the first couple years it wouldn't even grow good weeds.. I ended up buying a lot of bags of manure/compost mix and roto tilling it in.. By the 3rd summer, we were getting good veggies.. If you know some one who has a horse or two.. horse manure is great for garden... BUT the down side to horse manure is the weeds you import with it.../John

  10. #10
    Member garnede's Avatar
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    Add the dirt at your house with: compost, manure, topsoil, rock dust, peat moss, and anything else that has a high level of organic matter. by adding all of the organic matter to the dirt it will become soil.

    I was just saying to add some of your own soil, assuming you don't live on top of a pile of gravel (likely in the valley and other places). If you check out my blog I am using a method called lasagna gardening. With it you don't have to wait for plant material to become compost to plant in it. Also check out an author from the 50's and 60's named Ruth Stout, her books were Gardening without work and How to have a green thumb without an aching back. Both methods are deep mulch gardening. The deep mulch feeds the soil and attracts worms while preventing weeds. You can apply the same thing inside a greenhouse. The organic matter will hold moisture, without much watering or becoming overly wet. Even overly compacted soil will loosen up it's self after a season buried under a foot of mulch.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garnede View Post
    Add the dirt at your house with: compost, manure, topsoil, rock dust, peat moss, and anything else that has a high level of organic matter. by adding all of the organic matter to the dirt it will become soil.

    I was just saying to add some of your own soil, assuming you don't live on top of a pile of gravel (likely in the valley and other places). If you check out my blog I am using a method called lasagna gardening. With it you don't have to wait for plant material to become compost to plant in it. Also check out an author from the 50's and 60's named Ruth Stout, her books were Gardening without work and How to have a green thumb without an aching back. Both methods are deep mulch gardening. The deep mulch feeds the soil and attracts worms while preventing weeds. You can apply the same thing inside a greenhouse. The organic matter will hold moisture, without much watering or becoming overly wet. Even overly compacted soil will loosen up it's self after a season buried under a foot of mulch.

    Just went over to your blog for the first time. Looks like a ton of information on there. Great stuff. Thanks.

    jmg
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  12. #12
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Yesterday I finally got organized (somewhat) and built a self watering system with a couple of old 5 gallon buckets and planted an Early Tanana tomatoe in it to see if it will work... I set the bucket/plant in the little GH that I am still nailing and screwing together.. This morning when I looked out the bedroom window I was shocked to see frost on my truck.. thinking I'd probably killed my tomatoe I quickly checked the temp... Yesterday I had put an indoor/outdoor thermometer in the GH and was relieved to see that the lowest temp all night recorded in the GH was only 39 degs... Earlier someone had warned to use only food grade plastic buckets for this... I know that the number 2 on the bottom of plastic buckets is food grade, and surprisingly every plastic bucket I have (some old paint buckets, etc) are all number 2... Today I'm going to make a couple more self watering buckets for some more tomatoe plants so I can take off fishing for a couple days and the plants will be able to survive

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