Five gallon bucket system...

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

How abouy using a plastic colander somehow? The kitchen bowl with all the holes in the bottom...

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

You know that just might work. I'm going to see what I can come up with.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Gessieviolet,
Did you see my "cookie" design for the eBuckets? I wanted you to see it. Here it is. Was VERY easy to make. Only issue I'm running into is waterproofing it, but I'm very close to a product that will handle that, too. So, this weekend, I'll waterseal the 16 "cookies" I have already cut out and outfit my eBuckets for plantout.

Thanks, for your solid idea for a one-bucket system!

Linda

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Linda, I did and I am very impressed. Please keep us posted on your improvements on the "cookie".

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

GV one sheet of pegboard cost $15 @ Lowes. I can cut 32 cookies from one sheet! But go find the PLASTIC pegboard and you're home free! LMK if and wher you do. Having to track down a reliable waterproofing method is what's holding me up! Linda

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Linda, I thought about plastic also, but have no idea where it can be found. I am experimenting with Molamola's suggestion of the colander as the base. It is the easiest construction possible. A 7qt plastic colander ($1) with the solid rim cut off fits exactly into a 5 gallon pickle bucket. The domed shape allows the soil on the sides (holes already on the sides) of the colander to act as wicking. Ii have to see if this allows too much water in plant portion of bucket. All I had to cut hole wise was the hole for the fill pipe and the overflow hole in the bucket. I did put a plastic straw through the bucket hole and a colander hole to keep it open for sure. Since the colander is 7 qt capacity a gallon + fills the reservoir. I put overflow at gallon level so water will be well below top of water platform. We'll see what happens, this may be the way to go. It's fast, easy, and not at all expensive.

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Oh NO!!! One of those horrid male things that has a cord, is loud, vibrates violently, is so dangerous, And is something I do not even want to ever see again, even in a photo! Eeeek! I am reborn UN liberated.

(the saw) I am a maniac. I've been forced to do too many 'blue' things. Leave me in my pinkness. Maybe I can buy a colander that exactly fits some bucket half way down....

LOL, don't mind me. I hate power tools. I even hate screwdrivers and pliars.

Mm

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Molamola your suggestion for using a colander was an excellent one. This evening I made one by this method. (See my post to Gymgirl)
You should be able to get the colander you need and you only have to use a pair of scissors to cut it! Can't wait to see if I run into problems with your suggestion. Thanks for submitting it

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok, I showed you mine, now you show me yours! ^_^

Crestview, FL

So where do we get the plastic colander from and does it replace having to use two buckets and allow us to use one instead? I like the idea of having one bucket instead of two, means I can have more of them right? LOL
joy

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Hmm, would there be a problem to have less soil and more water?

Now I'm looking for a bigger colander! lol

Melissa

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Linda, Joy, and mm: I am about to post my construction methods for the colander and bucket set-up. I got the colander at the Dollar Store, the bucket from a restaurant, and the pipe and drinking straw I had. If this wicks like I hope it does, this is the way I am going on my buckets, and yep! use just one bucket.

Here are my assembled components 1-bucket, 1 colander, 1 piece of fill pipe, one drinking straw, and the household scissors my wife doesn't know I have taken from the kitchen.

Thumbnail by gessieviolet
Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

The lip of the colander had to be trimmed and slots cut on the sides about 4 times so it could flex slightly when pushed down into the bucket. This is a before shot.

Thumbnail by gessieviolet
Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Here you see the finished components ready to be assembled. I did use a hole cutter to cut the hole for a tight fit, but you could do it with scissors

Thumbnail by gessieviolet
Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

This shows the bucket assembled and ready to fill. Notice the drinking straw used to keep overflow hole clear. Look closely and you will see the slits I cut in the sides of the colander so it could flex as it was pushed down.

Thumbnail by gessieviolet
Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Beginning to fill the bucket. You can see why no wicking device is needed. The soil around the edges will do the job, I hope.

Thumbnail by gessieviolet
Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

The filled bucket. The reservoir holds just over a gallon of water. Now for the real test! Seeing if plants will thrive in this setup.

A side note: I love the way we can form kind'a a think tank through these forums. Who knows what we'll come up with next. I'm open for experimentation!!

This message was edited Jul 8, 2009 10:55 AM

Thumbnail by gessieviolet
Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Scissors, just so you don't pinch her sewing scissors!

Now I need to go to the Dollar Store! We have a brand name Dollar Store here, a chain? Man, they have some amazing clothes! hahaha.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Gessie, I have been reading this thread and it looks like you have a very practical design there.
I have a few questions if you don't mind.
What kind of soil mix do you use? which type of fertilizer? and have you ever grown plants this way using organic fertilizers.
Are you planning to put the cover on the bucket?
Thank you in advance, your method sound simple and easy, I like that.
Josephine.

Carson City, NV(Zone 6a)

I'm hooked! I stopped at the dollar store on the way to buy groceries. I bought 3 colanders. On Sunday I picked up a pickle bucket from the grocery store and they're saving me another one. As soon as I get back from Sisters, Oregon (big outdoor quilt show this weekend), we're building one (or two or three).

Marilyn

PS Gymgirl, yesterday I bought the last eggplant at the nursery. Might be too late to get many but I'm going to try. Right now it's in a barrel. It'll go into an Ebucket after they built.

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Thank each of your for your kind comments on this design.

I want to emphasis that I have not at this point grown anything in a bucket made up like this. THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT !!

My concern is the wicking of the water, will it keep soil TOO moist. I don't know, only time will tell.

I use Fafard 3B mixture made up of forest products made for containers; on my boxes I generally use a variety of fertilizers (but feel most comfortable with a 10-10-10 in a strip for continuous feed,)

I may or may not use a cover. In this particular bucket I am transplanting some swiss chard and using a thick layer of pine mulch. I will also fertilize this bucket with weekly feedings of a water soluble (about a quart at a time) poured into the pot--this is the way I treat my containers (not self contained) of flowers. I don't know about organic fertilizers, why not experiment and see. Why don't we all keep the forum posted on our experience with this.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Thank you for your response, I will keep watching.
Josephine.

Carson City, NV(Zone 6a)

Gessieviolet, I'm willing to be part of the experiment. We have little humidity here so if the potting mix is too wet I'll try removing the cover from the top of the bucket. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Marilyn

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

GV help me understand the wick in your design. The colander is inverted, making a "bubble". The potting mix that is at the bottom edges provides the wicking material? How does the wicking mix stay in constant contact with the water? Also could you do some closeups of the notches and slits in the colander? Thanks. Linda

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Linda, think in reverse. In the usual system a container of soil with holes in it sits surrounded by water. The holes in the soil vessel allows the mix in the tube to stay saturated as long as there is water in the reservoir and to send water to the soil above it in the bucket.

In this design the water container (which is full of holes) is filled with water and is surrounded by the soil mix which will saturate (in other words, water goes OUT instead of IN) as the water seeks to fill the bucket to the overflow point. My hope is that this does not give too large a wicking effect for the soil in the bucket.

The ridged edge on the colander does not allow it to flex inward as it is pushed into the bucket which is slightly smaller at the bottom (this is so they can stack containers in regular use). I simply make a cut at the (think of clock face) 12-3-6-9 positions so the edge can flex inward. I make "V" cuts (at the 6 and 12 positions) so the stiff edge will be able to fit without crimping against itself and buckling when it is pushed down. Depth of cuts--to first row of holes in colander.

Crestview, FL

gessieviolet: In your one pic it looks like the colander is collapsing already, is it supposed to do that? And if so, how do you keep the water reservoir seperated from the medium you are using to grow your plants in.
joy

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Joy, I assure it is not collapsing. If you look at the picture of the assembled bucket right above the picture I think you are talking about the "bulge" is hidden due to the camera angle. It is behind the input pipe. The bulge is caused when the ridged edge of the colander overlaps itself to fit the smaller bucket diameter. That why I made "V" cuts in the edge. I am amazed at how ridge the walls of the colander are, I think there is very little chance of it collapsing into itself, Note that the overflow hole ( the drinking straw, marks it path) is lower than the pot mix so only the wick portion of mix is in water.

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Be interesting to see what the roots do. Will they reach down through all the holes? We shall see!!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Gessieviolet,
I apologize, but I am THOROUGHLY confused...Sorry, I'm not very good with visualizing spacial concepts.

Crestview, FL

I'm anticipating seeing what the results are, if this works, it will be easy to put together and maintain and only one 5 gallon bucket required, I like that.
joy

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Gymgirl, I got another colander this pm and will attempt to photo tomorrow to show what I am talking about. Stay tuned.

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Is this what we're talking about? Lousy art, but you might get the idea

Thumbnail by Molamola
Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Molamola, exactly, you got it!! Thank you.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok, I see how it works now! Thanks Molamola!

Crestview, FL

Gessieviolet: Keep me informed on this one, if this works, I'm getting more buckets for sure.
joy

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

I'm thinking this could be great for plants that are real water hogs.

Crestview, FL

Yep, if this works, it will be great for maters for sure.
joy

Crestview, FL

Gessieviolet: Just got 3 five gallon buckets to clean out and get ready and was wondering about something? What if I used some thin rubber type hose, like used for aquariums and all, instead of the straw, would that work?
joy

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Sure, just be sure it stays straight when you fill bucket. Actually this is better than the straw cause it is less likely to deteriorate as it gets older. Can't wait to hear your comments on the buckets and how they work for you.

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Make sure the hose is not in full sunlight, or else protect it somehow. But youse guys don't have the killer rays that I do.

A plastic one gallon jug goes brittle and breaks apart in a couple of months here, or less. I need to put one out with a date on it to see how quickly.

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