I can’t make it to plant night, unfortunately, but I did coincidentally finish this irrigation project yesterday. It’s more related to water than plants, and not very high tech, but here are some photos anyway:
I want (surprise!) my plants to water themselves, ideally using rainwater. Also as you can see, there’s this gravel patch in front of our house. When we tried scraping away the gravel and planting there, water ran straight into the basement. So we put back the gravel. In the absence of a fundamental fix, I stumbled across this guy’s solution and thought it was tailor made!
The plants are in 25 gallon fabric pots which (I’ve read) air prune the roots. The pots rest on sand, which keeps the soil out of the water, where I guess it would rot? The sand covers a reservoir. Water from the reservoir is wicked up to the plants by capillary action and by the roots (at least that’s what I’m hoping!). The water level is maintained below the top of the sand by a float valve in a separate container.
Here are some of the unfinished parts:
Here’s a trial run on the deck, checking for leaks:
The first trial was a complete failure. I tried to siphon water out of the barrel, which didn’t work at all. I used 100 psi 1/2 inch water line, which was too rigid and put a lot of strain of the other components. The bucket with the float valve is very thin plastic. The lack of a union on the float valve made the whole thing frustrating to assemble. After addressing each shortcoming, it worked great! I replaced the water line with 1/2 inch poly pipe, which was way nicer to work with.
Here it is in situ, adding the landscape fabric and sand:
The rain barrel and trays are repurposed 55 gallon barrels of tamari. The bucket with the float valve is from DQ strawberry topping. The float valve and 5/8 inch top hat grommets I got off eBay. Everything else – the fittings, perforated o pipe, landscape fabric, sand, rope, etc. – I got from a local hardware/garden/landscape store.
There’s a dwarf sour cherry in one pot and the other is empty right now, owing to the fig tree that was intended died before I completed the project. We’ve talked about doing tomatoes or a blueberry bush, because we can easily change the pH in one pot independently of the other. It isn’t hooked to the gutter yet, but that’s the plan. We may also expand the number of tray/pots in future.