We have been working on a project building self-watering container gardens out of inexpensive materials and even recycled materials such as plastic bottles or rubbermaid containers. We call them "GrowBarrels'. With help from student volunteers we were able to build nearly a dozen GrowBarrels earlier in the summer of 2010 and have began planting the GrowBarrels with plenty of vegetables and other plants. We placed finished GrowBarrels with Como residents, community gardens, apartment dwellers and elders to determine their functionality and ease of use. Plants gre well and watering was a simple infrequent chore. In 2011, GrowBarrels are being built en masse at DIY workshops. Attendees leave with a finished GrowBarrel complete with soil and plants plus they have the know-how to make more of their own!
email GrowBox@comogreenvillage.info for more info.
Why GrowBarrels and other self-watering container gardens work so well:
Here are step by step instructions for building a growbox that help to explain how the growbox works.
The GrowBarrels are a unique gardening container because they are self watering containers that require less care and attention than a traditional garden bed. The portion of soil that is submerged in the water reservoir acts as a wick and pulls water to the roots of the plants from below, by having the water beneath the soil there is less evaporation (as compared to surface watering) and the plants are able to constantly soak up water at a steady pace.