What am i looking for to deep drip soil in fabric pots?

Experts ,

I started to ask this question at the end of another thread in a forum where it was off topic.

I see far too many choices to irrigate soil pots, and all I’m looking to do is run water and nutes down the lines to three and five gallon fabric pots, instead of me using a transfer pump that moves way too much water and water is them far too quickly.

I see every kind of thing out there, and I don’t even know what to call it, is it irrigation? Certainly not hydroponics. There has to be some way to identify the kinds of systems that I’m able to use for say, up to maybe 20 pots.

I mean, I’d love to ask everybody what their experiences are with different brands and types, but that would probably be unfair, so I’m just curious if anybody can tell me the phrases are keywords that I should be searching for in order to narrow all the millions of choices out there in different types to the ones that would work for my situation. I’m using regular organic soil, too, not a medium like coco.

Thanks a lot, really appreciate it!

Maybe you are looking for a gravity drip system? You could also use a pressurized pump system combined with the drop system, just cycle the pump on/off as needed, or using a float valve and have the pump keep refilling the drip system reservoir…

Another system I have used for veggies and other plants is fabric pots in a kiddie pool or concrete mixing tub, then a pump on a timer dumping however many gallons of water into that tub not into individual pots, the plants take it up from the tub… We did most of our outdoor veggie garden like this last year and yields were great! We just kept dumping water in the tub as it dried out, and because the fabric pots (Walmart blue reusable grocery bags) were twice as tall as the concrete mixing tub, even after a rain when the tub was entirely full the roots still had air and didn’t drown… Worked out great for veggies…

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I don’t have any experience with the Autopot Systems but here’s a good journal. I’ve been thinking, if I do another indoor grow, I may try these out.

I think the best play for me is one very similar to the retail link shown, with the exception of instead of a sprinkler on the top, looking for those deep drip stakes.

I figure that a visual of the trips could be set to continuously run, the kind of thing you see when you get an IV. Being manual, it would need to be adjusted as the plants grew, just like if I put a weight-based switch. Because the plants get heavier as they grow, even turning the water on and off based on weight would be manual…

The systems shown, the auto parts system for example, uses a float, and the water level is maintained at the bottom of the pot. Many have noted that you can’t start off for the system like that because the roots haven’t gone that deep. You have to go through a period of manually watering them from the top until the roots grow deep enough to start drinking from the water at the very bottom. And with 5 gallon or greater pots, this could take a little time.

I might install moisture sensors from the microcontroller world, i.e Arduino, and allow those to trigger the opening and closing of a gravity feed. That gets around the issue of the plant taking up different amounts as it grows, as well as being heavier as it grows. All you do is set an offset from a current reading, until the moisture sensors trip when the rest of the plant needs water, which as I understand it are the same circumstances, or dryness if you will, regardless of the plants age or development.

I have tons of different kinds of sensors, and the ones I’m talking about look just like this, and cost virtually nothing:

Whole kit with a relay board and four pumps:

The nice thing about the system with the relays and separate pumps for each plant is that I can easily program the controller for this to also send out Wi-Fi updates, or save the times and time duration that the pumps are on, etc. And adjust for what each plant’s threshold is to need watering separately with a screwdriver.

I think I’ll go with this approach, as I’m able to do this with parts I already have.

Thoughts?

Besides maybe the first week after a transplant from a starter pod or whatever, I have found using the tub/pool water from the bottom it wicks up enough to encourage plants to send a tap root deep in no time seeking more water… Of course, I do check the soil and if it’s dry I will top water, but generally, it’s not necessary past the first week or so from my experience…

Be careful with microcontrollers and sensors, when they work they work well, but when they fail it’s generally epic…

Also too much automation it can cause some to get too hands-off… I read an article about an experiment growing plants on the International Space Station, some team designed a 100% automated grow system all sorts of sensors and what not, they were left scratching their heads when the plants didn’t thrive… Apparently at some point one of the Astronauts with a green thumb intervened and the plants thrived…

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Autopots check off most of the boxes. They are passive (no pump) gravity feed to a bottom tray that fabric pot rests in. I’ve been using them for 2 years and they’re the most user-friendly product out there IMO.

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Basically what I do with the kiddie pool or concrete mixing tubes, but in a higher-tech turnkey solution…

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I second the bottom water wicking with grow bags. I like that you can see the water wick up the side of the bag. This seems to work quite well in hot spells.

I tried to use a kiddie pool. But my kids stole it. :diving_mask:

I have switched to soaking them in a levelish side channel I dug in parallel to my creek. I damn it up with an 2x4 and flood it. Poor man’s ebb and flow. Right infront of my blueberry grove at the flood plane.

Nice idea if you have a water source like that, especially a flowing one that won’t go stagnant… I started with the kiddie pools but found they really don’t have the UV protection to last long, plus they are round… The concrete mixing tubs I use now simply fit my bill better, but I have seen some people online keeping it real simply using a wood frame or brick frame and a pond liner… It all works the same…

These are the tubs I use, not all brands have the straight sides so to maximize space I make sure to get the straight sided ones and I use the re-useable shopping bags for pots as they are rectangle and fit better in a rectangle tub vs round bag/pots :rofl:

https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/concrete-cement-masonry/concrete-accessories/shape-products-reg-all-purpose-tub/st3624/p-1444441881203-c-5642.htm

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I have a buddy that kills it growing outdoor over acreage he inherited in skagit county (nw Wa n of seattle) that is 90% stagnant swamp. He puts bamboo poles together into a tripod like a teepee. But with enough trim at the top to nest a grow bag in. Like an osprey nest on top of a pilling. He hammers them pretty deep incase he has to raise the stilts. And it super quick and easy to release the poles and relash the top point if the water drops too much. The airroots look like DWC in the gap.

He calls it “swamp buckets”. I call it pretty damn clever. No one ever goes there.

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Hoping to get away from sprinklers and feed the roots, but the idea is the same… Thanks for the link!

:slight_smile:

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Would love to see what that looks like! I wonder if the humidity is an issue in flower…