Rope wick for SWC

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svalli
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Rope wick for SWC

#1

Post: # 48338Unread post svalli
Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:42 am

I have had some type of self watering containers made with expanded clay aggregate on the bottom and the soil separated with landscape fabric. These have been working fine for years, but this year I changed all soil to new one and wanted an easier to clean design. The roots keep growing through the fabric to the clay pebbles and it is in the end full of old and new roots.
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We had same diameter but shallower containers around, which my DH had been using for starting tree seedlings. He did not need those anymore, so I stacked them inside the deeper ones to make the self watering containers. Since the polypropylene braided rope worked so well in small scale for the wick watering of African Violets, I wondered if thicker rope would work for the bigger containers.

I have now 10 of these built and planted in my greenhouse. If the wicking does not work, I may have to water from the top and try to change the design for next year. So far it looks good, but I did top watering after planting a week ago, so it is hard to say if these do work like intended.
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Sari
"I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes and dream."
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svalli
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Re: Rope wick for SWC

#2

Post: # 49755Unread post svalli
Fri Jul 02, 2021 6:56 am

My gamble for changing all SWCs for tomatoes to a rope wick system was successful. I have now had plants growing in them for a month and have watered just via the fill tube except the first watering when planting. When the season is over It will be interesting to see if roots have grown to the water reservoir through the holes for ropes.

I did not have enough those shallow containers to change also the ones where I have cucumbers, so those are re still the old way with LECA and landscape fabric. Next spring I have to change also those to the double container design.

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Sari
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Re: Rope wick for SWC

#3

Post: # 49771Unread post Whwoz
Fri Jul 02, 2021 10:11 am

Working wonderfully Sari. some lovely plants there for this southerner to see
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Barb_FL
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Re: Rope wick for SWC

#4

Post: # 50516Unread post Barb_FL
Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:13 am

Your plants look really good. On the new rope, do you cover with the clay balls?

I use Earthboxes and cover the EB aeration screen with shade cloth or screen. I get massive roots in the reservoir; I dump / clean the EB between uses.
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Re: Rope wick for SWC

#5

Post: # 52088Unread post svalli
Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:34 am

Barb_FL wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:13 am Your plants look really good. On the new rope, do you cover with the clay balls?

I use Earthboxes and cover the EB aeration screen with shade cloth or screen. I get massive roots in the reservoir; I dump / clean the EB between uses.
I did not use the clay balls at all. I filled the containers with peat based potting soil and moistened the peat at planting. It has gotten all the water after that via the rope pieces.

There is no aeration in my boxes and I was worried about that, but it may be that since I use the rope for wicking and none of the potting media is submerged in the water, the moisture level stays optimal.

Sari
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Re: Rope wick for SWC

#6

Post: # 71615Unread post svalli
Mon Jun 13, 2022 3:52 am

Because that rope wicking thing worked so well for tomatoes, I built ones for cucumbers too. I found 21 liter and 32 liter storage boxes, which fit inside each other. Holes for the rope and fill tube were drilled to the smaller one and also the covers were drilled for planting and the fill tube. There should be room for about 10 litres of water in the bottom of the bigger container.
self watering container.jpg
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I filled the top boxes with peat and planted cucumbers May 26th. In the water reservoir I use professional water soluble fertilizers.
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This is how the plants look now (17 days from planting). I was a bit worried what will happen, since the plants started to forming tiny cucumbers already indoors under grow lights and I moved them to the greenhouse and planted to new boxes without any kind of hardening. It seems that the system is working and the plants are growing well and all the tiny cucumbers started to grow.
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Sari
"I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes and dream."
- Moomin-troll by Tove Jansson

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Re: Rope wick for SWC

#7

Post: # 71778Unread post peebee
Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:11 pm

That looks great Sari, I had extra cucumber seedlings so I was planning on doing something similar.
Thanks for the details and pics, I will get right on it 🙂
What varieties are you growing?
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Zone 10, Southern California
Will eat anything once before I judge.
Anything meaning any foods of course.

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Re: Rope wick for SWC

#8

Post: # 71787Unread post svalli
Thu Jun 16, 2022 1:35 am

peebee wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:11 pm What varieties are you growing?
This year I am growing Delistar, Hopeline, Louisa, Max and Passandra, All in the greenhouse are parthenocarpic hybrids and so far all of them have produced just female flowers. Previous years I have had them producing male flowers early in the season, so getting first cucumbers has been delayed. Now there are some fruits, which could be already picked.
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"I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes and dream."
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