The Basics of Sub-irrigated Planters
SIPs, or sub-irrigated planters explained
Self-irrigated planters or pots are a closed-loop, self contained system preventing the water waste that comes from conventional gardens. Those of us who are aware of this can’t stop preaching about this!
Having said that…You might already know what this is, but for those who don’t, a SIP is a Sub-Irrigated Pot/Planter. I have only a few plants left in standard plastic pots, and as soon as I can find the time, they’re going into sub-irrigated planters. There are now a plethora of plans out now for one type of self-irrigated planter or another, but for the plants in these pictures, the pop bottles used were 1 liter and 2 liter sizes. As I don’t drink THAT MUCH soda, I have yet to get a 3 liter, but I plan on some “dumpster diving” in the warmer times of the year and I will be collecting those and that size can easily accomodate a 6-8 inch pot plant. For my purposes now, the 1 liter is super for a 2-3 inch pot plant, even up to a 4 inch, and the 2 liter is just dandy for a 4-5 incher. Because of the depth of the upper portion of the self-irrigated planter, it accommodates a plant for a longer period of time, particularly in the 2 liter, and added the fact that the plant always has access to water in the reservoir. These things are wonderful, trust me!
They’re not pretty, but the plants in them will be and isn’t that the reason we keep plants, because they’re pretty to look at? It’s also great to be able to see the root activity and watch as they crawl down the bottle into the reservoir which helps the plants from being stressed and the roots from staying near the surface. Roots in self-irrigated planters grow deep! Add the benefit of being “green” and it’s a win/win!
Come the spring planting season, for the heftier plants of garden veggies, the self-irrigated planters will be sizes ranging from the commercially available Earthbox to home-made versions in 10,18 and 24 gallon Rubbermaid.
Seeds for thought:
Teachers, this is a great science project and great to promote recycling! Watching the roots trough the clear sides of the pop-bottle sips is tremendous fascination for young and old alike and it’s somehow very satisfying to see those roots make their way down into the moist soil, you know the plants are growing and fine.
The future generations need to start learning now about conservation, recycling and most importantly, growing their own food. Climate is changing quickly, and children as well as adults need to learn that living in an urban condition doesn’t always mean having to buy from the local grocery store dried-out, old, hard, bland-tasting veggies when you CAN grow it yourself!
We ALL need to be aware that “gardening” does not equate to “an acre of land and a tiller!”
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