I did quite a bit of research before I finally pulled the trigger on self watering planters. I ended up choosing the Tomato Success Kit from Gardeners Supply Company -- actually I ended up choosing two of these. A quick Google search netted me a 15% off coupon and voila, my planters are on their way.
Three business days later these two large boxes arrive. They were surprisingly heavy - 27 pounds in each box. Since the planters are plastic, I couldn't understand how these things were so freakin' heavy.
|Lilly inspecting the boxes|
|Potting mix: pre-soaking|
|Potting mix: post-soaking|
The directions suggest you water the traditional way (pour water on top of the dirt) for the first 3-4 weeks until the plants take full root. After that you can water the way the planter was designed to be used. You see in the photos above there is a little plastic pull out spigot where you will the reservoir at the bottom. There is an overflow mechanism in case you overfill or in case it rains heavily -- don't want your tomatoes flooded out do you?
So far these have been working well. I've been watering the recommended way since I received them and the tomatoes are doing pretty well, but the basil is really thriving. I'll be sure to provide updates throughout the summer and will compare my yield this year versus last year (last summer I got about 110 cherry tomatoes per plant), I sure hope I do better this year.
The one thing that annoys me about this item is the number of flies that are attracted to the soil/potting mix. When sitting outside the flies are pretty annoying, but only initially -- they fly away and stay away pretty quickly.
How do you handle your veggie watering while you are away from home? Does the thought of using a plastic planter cause concern (the chemicals leaching into the soil from the heat of the sun)? What else do you plant in your above ground urban planters?