This is another example of a sub irrigated planter bed I set up. It uses capillary action or wicking to water plants and is also called a wicking bed.
I shot this video in 2 parts. Partly because it was getting long and partly because of YouTube’s guidelines about restricting videos.
So the first part just shows my sub irrigated planter bed and the 2nd video shows the plants inside my wicking bed garden. Dont be put off if you dont like what I grow! It’s all about a system that can grow anything. You dont even need a green thumb, all you need is a sip planter.
DIY Sub Irrigated Planter Indoors
This SIP planter uses a 2′ x 4′ flood tray with about 3 inches of growstones in it. It was originally set up for a top feed drip system.
The sub irrigated planter beds are working so well in my other grow closet that I decided to convert this one over in mid grow. It was an easy conversion actually. I added the stones to the tray and then gently lifted the plants and pushed stones under the bottoms of the smart pots.
For watering I decided to use the drip irrigation system that was already in place. It consists of a manifold with 8 dripper lines coming out from it. I took a bout an 18 inch length of pipe, 1 1/2″ I think and drilled holes in it. Some were to hold the drip lines in place and some were to let the water escape.
Recirculating Self Watering Wicking Bed
I placed it in the back of the tray on top of the growstones. The water runs down to the front of the tray and empties into my reservoir, which has a pump that connects to the manifold. It is working great. I think it works even better than my other SIPs because the water is evenly distributed and makes better contact with the bed on its way back to the reservoir. Voila! A recirculating and self watering planter bed!
Sub Irrigated Planter Bed Or Wicking Bed Garden Part 2
Here is a closer look at what is growing inside my garden. Although this planter bed is inside it can easily be set up outdoors.
I think the layer of growstones with smart pots on top has definite advantages over other SIP systems. One big advantage is that you need to buy less grow media than say an EarthBox type bed.
Another big advantage has to do with the smart pots themselves. They will keep your plants from getting root bound and keep your grow medium out of the reservoir. Plants tend to grow better and produce more in fabric pots too.
Finally it allows you to move plants around if you wish. Tender plants can receive all the benefits of SIP growing and watering during the summer months. Then when fall comes they can be brought inside to over winter. Try that with a traditional planter bed!
If you grow fruiting plants this can extend your growing season. If you grow tall plants use tomato cages for support instead of a trellis so you can move your plants later.