I had a few moments this week to tackle some potential design challenges presented by our previous planter prototype. The problem is that the potting mix is heavy and it weighs down the fabric so much that the fabric ends up filling most of the space in the water reservoir. The fear is that too much of the mix will end up resting in water, which will result in root rot.
To potentially solve this problem I chopped up a 2’x4′ and attached it to our basic wooden frame to raise it. I cut 16″ lengths and and ran them 10″ up the sides, so each planter is now suspended 6″ from the ground. Check it out:
I then attached the fabric around the outside of the frame rather than the inside, figuring that would give it a bit more structure for it to hold the mix:
Next I placed three pond baskets (plastic baskets with tiny holes) beneath the frame and cut holes in the fabric.
Most of the mix should sit on the fabric, but some will go through the holes I cut in the fabric and rest in the pond baskets, which will sit in the water. This will be where the mix and water meet and where the wicking will happen. (The bulk of the mix will rest on the fabric suspended at least an inch above the water level, allowing for aeration.)
Next, I attached the pond liner, again around the outside, to act as the water reservoir. I could have done it more attractively, but didn’t:
After I did all this I filled the reservoir with water. I cut a hole in the liner about 2″ up to use as a drainage level. Everything seemed to work.
I decided not to put in the potting mix until I’m ready to plant anything, which should happen some time in the fall, but I’m pretty confident this design improves on the last one.
(The tomato plants I put in the other planter are doing really well, by the way. I’ll take a photo of them some time.)