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Micro Self-Watering System

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Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 1/30/2016, 5:27 pm

The mad scientist is at it again.  I thought I would start this thread to show my experiment with a micro-self-watering seed starting/growing system. As usual I have many photos.

These are the main components. Two plastic food storage containers and one lid. One is deeper than the other one. I drilled four holes, one in each corner of the bottom, in the shallow container. Through the holes I pushed twisted "wicks" made from paper towel. Each wick goes through two holes, one at each end of the container. The middle part of the wick goes across the inside bottom of the container.




This is what the shallow container looks like from the underside.



And this is what it looks like looking down from the top.



Side view with the shallow container on top of the deeper container. I put rubber bands around the shallow container to help stop it from going to far down into the bottom container.



A folded paper paper towel (cut to size) is placed over the wicks at the bottom of the shallow container.



Side view with water in the lower container (reservoir).



Top container loaded with well moistened Mel's Mix.



From the side. The rubber bands did not work so I had to improvise and use Lego blocks to hold up the shallow container to stop it from going to far down into the reservoir. There needs to be an air space beween the top of the water and the bottom of the top container.



Here it is with the micro SFG grid in place. I planted two radish seeds per square.



Lid in place and the whole thing placed under the grow light.



I use this child's water balloon pump for my spray bottle. You pump it to pressurize it and it produces a very nice fine spray.  My grandkids will wonder what happened to their water balloon filler.

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/31/2016, 9:46 am

Micro SFG grids! LOVE this! Can't wait to see how it turns out...

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  CitizenKate on 1/31/2016, 11:42 am

This is just my kinda nerdy stuff, trolly.   Smile  Lego blocks!

But I'm wondering, how will you get the plants out for transplanting?

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 2/1/2016, 11:15 am

CK ... I think I will just let these plants grow in the container to see how big they grow.  I have an idea for another self-watering system for the future transplants (hint: it involves toilet paper rolls and/or yogurt cups).


BTW I'm not sure how the grandkids will react to my raiding their Lego box. We have a ton of the stuff so maybe they will not notice.

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  CitizenKate on 2/1/2016, 11:54 am

I've always been a fan of Lego blocks, and wondered if they could be used for more practical purposes.

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 2/2/2016, 2:22 pm

The self-watering micro SFG is working well. The radishes have sprouted except that I must have missed sowing seeds in the back right corner square. The MM soil is remaining moist. Soon be time to thin the seedlings to one per micro square.




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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  CitizenKate on 2/3/2016, 10:22 am

Lovely little sprouts... they're off to a good start.

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 2/5/2016, 2:14 pm

FWIW here is an update. I have not had to water this micro SFG at all.  It's all taken care of by the paper towel self-watering system. The plants have been thinned to one per square (except for the one square which is a late starter).


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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 2/8/2016, 3:55 pm

Three days later ... true leaves starting to grow.


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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/8/2016, 6:11 pm

Nice!

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  AtlantaMarie on 2/9/2016, 9:07 am

Wow!

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 2/11/2016, 1:23 pm

The true leaves are taking center stage. 



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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  Kelejan on 2/11/2016, 1:26 pm

Those radishes are looking beautiful, TD.  You will be eating them before long and will have to plant fresh seeds come the spring.  Or are you going to eat the leaves?

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  Windmere on 2/11/2016, 1:36 pm

I love this!!!  Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and for posting so many photos.   I want to try this out too!

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 2/11/2016, 1:49 pm

KJ ... I usually do eat some radish leaves even when I grow them outside. I'm just going to let these plants grow to see how big they will get and if they will produce radishes in their shallow Mel's Mix.

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 2/20/2016, 3:26 pm

After about 21 days I think it is time to harvest the radishes from the indoor micro garden. They did not grow very big. 








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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  CapeCoddess on 2/20/2016, 4:04 pm

Nice!!! and grown indoors...during winter to boot. Amazing!
Great photos, btw.
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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  plantoid on 2/20/2016, 4:30 pm

Nice one TD,
Perhaps try growing a " French breakfast " type radish next time and make the depth of the MM about twice as deep by using bigger pots .

 Once the radish are sprouted  move them away from the light and put them somewhere a bit cooler .. you'll like as not end up with some real fat thumb sized ones.

 You can also grow  all manner of seeds  in to viable transplants that would not otherwise be transplantable if you use a 1.25 to 2.0" dia 3.5 inch length of plastic waste water pipe  , plugging the bottom with  a lump of thin exercise mat type  closed cell foam , then grow to germination size under lights & heat .

Again once they show through remove from the propagation bed and put in day light  at a slightly cooler temp
 .  Once the transplants are big enough for your liking , you simply slip a round piece of wood in the base end and use it as a plunger to push the MM complete with full undisturbed roots up out the top and slip this plant plug in a pre made hole so that the top of the plug is 1/8 deeper down than before , then lightly tamp it in place and give it a good watering.

 The only two plants it's not worked for me are parsnips and long root carrots ,  due to them developing a rather long tap root  in the first few days of germination .
Transplanting these breaks the microscopically fine root and causes them to grow like cows udders  with many teats and a big bulbous main body ( They are OK in stocks & soups if scrubbed & scalded before use )

 If you are really into the art of single sown seeds when I come out of hospital in a week or so I'll  put up a thread of my home made vacuum seed sucker that I use for all seeds smaller than 1/8 inch diameter .
 Developed because I have peripheral neuropathy  due to diabetes so I often have reduced feeling in my fingers .
.

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  trolleydriver on 2/20/2016, 4:52 pm

Good information plantoid. Thanks.

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

Post  sanderson on 2/21/2016, 12:58 am

Let's see, Canada, winter, indoors, little container. . . I would say a success.

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Re: Micro Self-Watering System

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