How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Gardening with Self Watering Containers

As you probably know, one of the goals my wife and I have for our family is to move out of the Puget Sound suburbs and out to our land in Eastern Washington.

As a result we have been somewhat reluctant to do anything even remotely permanent where we’re at now. That includes us being quite reluctant to increase the size of our garden, despite having a fair amount of space we could use.

We’d love to plant some good fruit trees, which we don’t have here, as well as some fun stuff like hardy kiwis, raspberries, and blueberries. And of course increasing our growing space for vegetables would be nice.

I just don’t want to put in the money and effort into putting together a good starting mix for new beds, only to move a year or two later. It doesn’t seem worthwhile.

So this spring we’ve been looking at container gardening, and have decided to do some trial runs using DIY Self Watering Containers (SWCs). This seems like a good fit for us and our needs, and since the soil, a primary expense, is portable we can take it with us.

You can find more information on self watering containers at these sites:

http://www.josho.com/gardening.htm
http://www.rootsimple.com/search/label/self%20watering%20containers
http://engineeredgarden.blogspot.com/2010/01/constructing-swp-from-5-gallon-bucket.html

(and many many more…)

We’re going to use 4 gallon buckets for our containers, with a few larger ones for some of the bigger plants. We’re even considering trying to grow blueberries in containers … we’ll see how it works.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, and maybe even a few pictures…

Have any of you used similar SWCs?

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3 Responses to Gardening with Self Watering Containers

  1. I’ve been thinking about doing them! Though we get so much rain where I live that I might not worry about it. You linked to Engineered Garden – I’ve been following that guy for a couple years, he posts on Garden Web and there’s a ton of info there also about SWC.

  2. I have been using the Earthbox brand of swc going on third season now. They are great. The land our house sits on is bad as it compacts fast and other problems plague the ground. No matter how much compost and other soil amendments that were added, plants just didn’t grow well. I decided to get the SWC’s and I will probably never switch back. The plants grow very well and since the dirt is covered, no weeds. Being self watering is great too, but as hot as it gets here, I usually have to fill the containers once per day, especially corn and tomatoes. I started with 5 boxes and this year I will be gardening with 8, with plans to make some homemade ones out of 5 gallon buckets.