Self watering research

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Problem. ….Our current system of drip irrigation works ( sort of pretty badly) but in some cases…

1. Squirrels chew it a lot in some gardens so it always needs repair and often gets chewed daily
2. The school district DOES NOT WANT our drip irrigation hooked permanently up to spigots that are on the building water lines and so in that case we can’t set our systems to water every day etc as they have to be unhooked when we are not there. An increasing number of our gardens are in this situation.
3. The drip irrigation does not moisten the whole bed or at least a large area making seed starting nearly impossible. We have to ALWAYS ensure that our plants are planted exactly at the holes and even then the tubing can move a little.
4. In some schools we simply do NOT HAVE ACCESS to water that can be permanently attached as a pathway is sometimes between our garden and a spigot.
5. We spend a lot of resources fixing our drip systems due to vandalism or even due to over eager kids disconnecting them or when gardening a sharp object cuts them.
6. The drip if we set it to run a lot so as to get down to the roots seems to often instead simply create a water channel to the bottom and leaks out the side of the bed wasting the effort and if we set it a little it only waters the top and the plant suffers.

IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS A RECURRING PROBLEM.

The goal

……..is develop a new modular system of gardens that solves all of the above.

We are testing self watering systems that will solve all of the above …HOPEFULLY..

BACKGROUND:
Water tank at bottom of the container, fill that say weekly. Container is perforated at bottom. Overflow hole, for excess water. In theory the soil sucks ( or wicks ) up the water from the tank, plants get an even amount of water, to the roots.

Here is an good rundown of self watering basics.

We are trying two systems:
1. One that Tomas created and 2. one purchased at Lowes.

On Saturday Aug 11th, we filled 2 of the Lowes planters with nice potting mix, and one of the Tomas design. We planted the same herbs. Our test is to see if the herbs grow well and how long they will last without any additional watering on our part.

We want to end up with a system that can be watered NO MORE THAN ONCE PER WEEK OR EVEN LONGER WITHOUT BEING ATTACHED TO WATER. STAY TUNED

THE TOMAS DESIGN.

Rough but put together to see if and how it works. Clear on bottom to view water level.

and the ones from lowes . dotchi 18-in W x 16-in H BLACK Plastic Self Watering Round Planter from Lowes . $30 each

Tomas O'Grady

Tomas O’Grady, Enrich LA’s co-founder, was inspired to create the non-profit enrich la in 2011 after he built at an edible garden at King Middle School and witnessed firsthand the effect that it had on the school and the kids.

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