I love growing my own vegetables every summer, they just taste better when they are fresh picked from the garden.Â This week I was thrilled to find that I already have a red tomato!
Only one is red, all the rest are still green, but this is extremely early for a tomato around here, so I am excited.
And my favorite way to grow my tomatoes is in self-watering containers.Â A self watering planter is one that is designed with a water reservoir that is filled. Then the soil wicks the water to the roots of the plants, so that the soil stays moist and provides a constant water supply to the plants.Â To water the plants all you have to do is fill the reservoir every few days.
Here are some of the advantages of using a self watering container:
- convenience â€“ Watering only every few days is much easier.Â My favorite thing about this is that it is easy to go on vacation, because you donâ€™t have to find someone to take of your plants for you.Â If I am going to be gone for a week I arrange to have someone come by once and fill up the reservoirs, but for a long weekend all I have to do is fill it up before I leave.
- healthy plants â€“ Because the plants receive a constant supply of water they tend to be healthier.Â There is no drought followed by excessive watering.
- saves time and water â€“ All the water in the reservoir is used, so there is little waste.Â And of course only watering every few days is a big time saver.
- higher yields â€“ I get much higher yields from my containers.Â My tomato plants especially produce much more fruit, with much less cracking.Â I assume this is because of the deep watering and constant rate of water.
There is really only one drawback to self watering containers â€“ but it is a big one, price. The classic self watering container is the EarthBox, which costs around $35.Â I have three EarthBoxes, and they work very well.Â They come with wheels, so they are easy to move around on a deck or patio, which makes them even more convenient.Â One year I even rolled my tomatoes inside when frost threatened in the fall to get a few more weeks of production.
But since I am cheap I also have four homemade self watering planters, which work just as well.Â I made these from a Rubbermaid storage container and PVC pipe, and they cost about $7 each.
The water reservoir is in the bottom of the container, and is filled through the small white PVC pipe.Â The larger PVC pipes are filled with potting mix, which wicks the water up to the plants.Â I am writing up a detailed of how I made one of these planters, which I am planning to publish on my blog soon!
How is your garden growing this summer?