If you’d like to have delicious home-grown tomatoes but lack a garden to grow them in, you’ll definitely want to check out this ingenious and inexpensive self-watering system.
Ray Newstead, silicon valley executive by day and gardening aficionado by night, wanted a more efficient way to grow tomatoes. He was tired of the wastefulness of having to deeply water large areas of soil to make sure his plants were well watered, along with the hassle of weeding all the nuisance plants that sprung up between his beloved tomatoes. His solution was to create a simple self-watering container from readily-available and cheap hardware store buys.
Unlike manual or drip irrigation top watering, the Earth Trainer employs a bottom up, automated watering approach based on the principle of capillary action. Water stored in the lower reservoir is wicked up into the soil much like the wick in a candle draws the liquefied wax upward to the flame. Moisture meets the roots of the plant where the plant “drinks” just as much water as it needs. This water consumption will vary significantly throughout the growing season as the plant produces fruit, and by providing a constant supply of water from the reservoir, the plant can achieve optimal growth and productivity.
Ray estimates the system consumes 75% less water than his in-ground tomatoes, and because of the way the water is stored within the planter, it requires radically less fussing. As an added bonus for apartment and condominium dwellers, the planter is easy to move and rotate for consistent sun exposure in small places. More information, including a video and plans, at the link below. The Earth Trainer [via A Whole Lotta Nothing]