Tonight I made a sub irrigated planter. These are pots that hold water under the dirt and let the pot get watered from the bottom up. Supposedly this gives you better roots as they grow deep, towards the water as opposed to staying near the top.
I built mine using recycled ‘stuff’. The pot is a round plastic tote that was on the deck when we bought the house, so it’s a bit weather beaten, but still in good shape. The tray is part of the plastic back from a rear projection TV I am parting out for parts for other projects. The fill tube is a bit of PVC pipe. The wicking fabric is the only part I actually bought for this project.
I traced the bottom of the tub onto the black plastic, and made a larger circle around the tub circle to cut along. I then cut tabs up to the tub circle.
I used a heat gun to heat up the plastic and bend the tabs up. These will for the legs of the tray to hold the tray above the water.
I cut 4 slits a little wider then the saw blade of my jigsaw.
The fabric gets cut into strips and fed through the slits.
Make sure the fabric is long enough to extend all the way to the bottom of the tub. They need to be able to touch the bottom so they can wick up every last drop of water.
The tray gets dropped in feet first and tweaked to fit. This was just a tad to big, but I got it worked out to fit.
I then used a hole saw to cut a hole for the fill tube.
The bottom of the fill tube isn’t flat, it was cut by drilling may holes – this makes sure that water can flow out the bottom easily.
It’s important to have an over fill drain hole. You don’t want water to get up to the dirt level or you will drown your plant roots.
My edges where less than perfect, with a low spot, so I used pea gravel to add some drainage and make sure that the dirt stays above the water level.
Dry potting soil won’t wick water from what I’ve read, so make sure the dirt is moist.
I used most of a new bag of potting soil, and some old stuff that I had but never used. This is a large container, so I am hoping it’s big enough for more than one tomato plant.
The pot is to go on the deck. Tomatoes and basil. Hopefully they do well, right out the kitchen door.