Alternative to Conventional Container Gardening without the Hassle of Watering A+
UPDATE: Well I grabbed one of my Rubbermaid and a Sawzall and made this one in about 40 Minutes. Also used an old PVC pipe to fill the reservoir, with landscape fabric over the fill soil to retain moisture. For watering I made up some (Compost Tea) for nutrient rich food and healthy soil microbial. Earthworks just appeared(how this happens I do not know). These taking off here are some unknown heirloom tomato starts that my buddy gave me, so I’ll find out later what surprises I have.. I am going to pronounce this a winner as I do not have to water it often(once a week) and the two tomato plants and one pepper are now crying for a support system. Onward and Upward, A nice compact system for Deck or Patio Tomato Plants or Whatever!
There is a sense of immediacy for many people today to start growing their own food. Visit the grocery store and you realize that prices are going up on all foods, concern is rising over how produce is grown and the pesticides or the genetically modified produce that has yet to be proven safe for the environment or even wide-scale consumption long term for humans. Starting a home garden can look like a large time consuming project along with the care taking associated with weeding, watering and monitoring. Most households are so busy in the modern world with working, school, kids and bills that the big question is how to find enough time to do anything extra. Then again many household simply don’t have a huge yard or good soil to start a productive garden.
Last year I bumped into a solution that seems to solve all these problems and allow anyone on a Sunday afternoon to cobble together a productive low maintenance self watering container garden.The answer is an Earth-Tainer comprised of 2 Rubbermaind storage containers, PVC pipe and a little creative assembly. Unlike manual or drip irrigation top watering, the EarthTainer employs a bottom up, automated watering approach based on the principle of capillary action. Water stored in the lower reservoir is wicked up into the soil much like the wick in a candle draws the liquefied wax upward to the flame. Moisture meets the roots of the plant where the plant “drinks” just as much water as it needs. This water consumption will vary significantly throughout the growing season as the plant produces fruit, and by providing a constant supply of water from the reservoir, the plant can achieve optimal growth and productivity.
So here we have a completely self contained design that can even be sunk in the ground for a raised type of bed, started inside or even used in winter with artificial LED lights for low power indoor gardening. This fits’t the bill for even a container garden that will produce on the balcony of an apartment. I found this on http://earthtainer.tomatofest.com/
Cost of purchasing components at Lowes or Home Depot to assemble the base unit runs approximately $23.00 and $18.00 for the optional self-supporting tomato cage system. While you can’t buy an EarthTainer anywhere, Newstead has teamed up with Ibsen and his TomatoFest organization (www.tomatofest.com) to create a self-construction guide for download in PDF and video format for those with basic tools skills to make their own. These instructions are provided for you here as “Freeware”. As Newstead puts it, “With the global food crisis escalating, I believe that spreading knowledge worldwide of how to build EarthTainer growing systems could help feed hungry people in impoverished areas around the world. Not just heirloom tomatoes, but corn, soybeans, and other high-nutrient crops can be grown.”
You can download all the plans along with viewing the video instructions for assembly at their site. All they request if you do use these design plans to build your own EarthTainer, is to make a voluntary contribution to the Feeding America Organisation www.feedingamerica.org.Even if you plan to start a large garden this year these will still be useful in getting a head start while you till up and amend your soils for a larger project.
These are a beautiful example of a creative alternative design that anyone can implement, low cost, effective, multi-use, productive and best of all you probably already have most of the material lying around or can reclaim materials to make them.
On another note Look at the amazing differences in nutrition between conventional and organic produce! Is it any wonder we have become overfed but undernourished?!
Remember–you get what you pay for. Pay your farmer now or pay your doctor later! (Or grow your own foods organically!)
Post Submitted by Editor John Gracy
you can reach him here at altererjournal.org where you can also submit your story or idea, remember to share and participate!