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Yesterday I promised to assemble one of my single bucket EBkts and for the life of me can't find the post today. Hope I didn't dream that request up. As the doctors tell me though, " At my age" I can't be sure. Anyway gather your supplies 1- 5 gallon bucket (with lid if you have it), a saucer for the platform, a 4 inch nursery pot for the wicking channel, a length of 1 1/2 pipe. You'll need something to cut plastic and drill holes. I use a dremel tool, a hole cutter on a drill, and a pair of aviation snips. Improvise on any or all items.
I trimmed the saucer to fit the bucket. In this one I only had to trim the outer rim of the saucer for a snug fit at the exact point I wanted so the reservoir holds slightly more than 1 gallon of water (4 inches up--I poured water in first to measure); Using the dremel tool I cut a center hole that sits over the rim of the wicking pot, with the hole cutter the water pipe hole was made. These tools make for a quicker job but you could certainly use sharp pair of scissors . Oh, yeah, you should at this point make bunch of holes for air to circulate through after the bucket is filled. I forgot here and it is a royal pain to do it later.
That's it. You are ready to fill your EBkt. Make sure the mixture filling the wicking channel is pressed firmly. Fill the bucket to level you want, lift the bucket and lightly tap against the ground to settle the mix. Do not pack it. Now fill the reservoir until water streams for the overflow holes.
One more thing before you put in the fertilizer ring and plants. Saturate the mix in the bucket with water until once more water flows from the overflow outlet. Let the mix settle for a while, you're ready to plant.
Gessieviolet, thanks for the pics. One question about your plastic plate. It must be rigid enough to support the wet potting mix as well as the weight of a mature plant. Where are you getting these plates? And you cut them with scissors? Please explain further. Thanks. Linda.
How much did all that cost to make? Not trying to burst an bubbles, but your system looks just like one that Gardener's supply just started carrying, and they are only $11, and $15(depending on which size you get)
Are these the ones that you made yours to look like, or maybe they copy you?
Linda, I assume you're talking about the red disc in the picture with the 2 holes cut in it? It's a plastic pot saucer ( I think this one was for a 12" pot) that I get at Lowe's, Walmart, Dollar Store, etc. The saucers are made of a rigid kinda rubbery material They can be trimmed so that they actually wedge against the sides of the bucket. The wicking pot sits under the saucer and will support the center weight; I suppose if you wanted to you could use other supports as well, but I don't see why you would need them. I did not use the white plate you see in the first photo for anything. I had planned to use it as a cover but it was too brittle to drill; so I jut to use black plastic film as a cover and tie it around the top of the bucket with cord of some type. If I had the actual bucket lid I would have cut 2 holes ---1 1/2 inches in it. One in the center for the plant , the other on the side for the fill pipe
As for cutting , on the first one I made I cut the holes with heavy scissors and aviation shears. That's rough on my poor arthritic fingers so I decided to get hole cutter fitting for my drill. With scissors the outline probably will be kinda rough looking, if that matters to you. On this one I had to trim the lip around the edge of the saucer to make it work. Again, that is easy to do with heavy scissors, or the dremel tool.
Seedpicker, here I thought I had an original idea!! LOLO No I had not seen this just thought why do I need to waste a 2nd bucket as a reservoir. I figured if a self contained reservoir worked for the larger box containers why wouldn't it work for a 5 gallon bucket?
Notice that the reservoirs in the conversion kits on the site for $11 to $15 ( plus shipping, I guess) DO NOT have pots (buckets), In my area if you buy the bucket it is going to cost at least $4+. My cost: 1-5 gallon pickle bucket - free (I get them from fast food places) 1- 12" pot saucer ( I got it out of my pot pile) would cost around $2.50 or less--The 4" nursery pot-free ( a purchased plant had come in it.); the 1 1/2 inch piece of pipe was scrape from other projects. My cost -$0 but if I make others, even purchasing everything I would still come out ahead! I got a gallon size reservoir and almost 4 gallons of soil capacity!
Know what? I have been trying to figure out how to make reservoirs for my flower pots. Here's the answer: Tupperware containers with one inch pipes for tubes, the flower pot holes take care of drainage. I love it when the light finally come on!!
msrobin, after we started playing with different ideas on this system a group of us developed a far better and less difficult to construct system using a 5 gallon bucket, a plastic colander, and a fill pipe + a drinking straw.
The new version makes this way outdated. Check the self contained gardening forum and read this info. It is so easy and so productive, There is another thread also connected but it is referenced in this one.
I don't have the drills and saws and all that. I use a ratty old soldering iron to punch holes, tho' they're not perfectly round. Any leaks could be stopped with a dab of silicon. And excellent ventilation, the little bit of smoke is stinky and poisonous, don't breathe it.