May 30, 2015
Today I want to share a newer gardening trend of growing in sub-irrigated containers. These containers are great for those that have small yards or even just a porch or balcony. This is the commercially available model that I use extensively in my garden called an Earthbox, but there are others available. It features a reservoir where the water is wicked up into the growing mix like a sponge. This keeps the root zone moisture very consistent. Let’s put one together. Always use potting mix that is designed for use in containers. Never use garden dirt. This container will hold 2 cubic feet of mix. The mix is poured in, compacted, and watered in stages. Dolomite is added for the calcium and magnesium. The fertilizer is placed on top of the mix, and in this case I’m using a granular variety. The wicking of the water will slowly dissolve the fertilizer over time to feed the plants. When you’re finished, the container should be mounded and resemble a loaf of bread. I’m going to place this plastic cover over the container to control evaporation. The only water the container loses is the water the plants transpire. Plus there’s no weeding. Now simply cut slits to accommodate your transplants. The number of plants will depend on what you decide to grow. Watering is easy, since all you need to do is to do is fill the watering tube until you see the water come out the reservoir overflow. Sub-irrigated containers aren’t only for vegetables. Here is one with tomatoes, but as you can see, colorful flowering plants will love them too. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.