Vegetables and Fruit forum: 24" ePlanter conversion system 101

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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
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Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:30 PM CST
Welcome to my step-by-step PICTORIAL instructions on how to make a 24" Sam's Club/Costco ePlanter conversion system.


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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:33 PM CST
Step #1

Secure your components:
  • 24" or larger planter (with the drain plug installed to hold water in)
  • a plastic colander to fit your ePlanter
  • a 22-24" length of PVC pipe (longer is better -- when the greenery gets bushy you can still find it!)
  • a sturdy plastic straw to aid in overflow drainage (McDonald's malt straws are the best!)



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[Last edited by Gymgirl - Jul 15, 2011 12:52 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #99451 (2)
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:34 PM CST
Step #1, view #2

Another view of the components in place from above.
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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:36 PM CST
Step #2

Pack potting mix tightly around sides of colander, under and over the drainage straw, and behind the fill tube. Pack tightly just to immediately over the top of the colander.
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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:37 PM CST
Step #3

Bring potting mix over top of colander and fill ePlanter 1/4 full. Pat mix down gently. Use garden hose sprinkler to water in well until run-off occurs.
Thumb of 2011-07-15/Gymgirl/44240c
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:38 PM CST
Step #3 continued

Overflow is established and system is tested.
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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:39 PM CST
Step #4

Fill ePlanter to halfway. Pat potting mix down gently and water in well again.
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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:40 PM CST
Step #4 continued

Overflow system working very well. No obstructions!

If water only spurts or gurgles out, grip straw firmly and push in and out of drain hole a few times (carefully) until a continuous flow is established. Be careful not to push straw all the way in or pull it all the way out! If straw ever plugs up, run a wire hanger through to remove debris and re-establish flow.


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[Last edited by Gymgirl - Jul 15, 2011 12:54 PM (+)]
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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:43 PM CST
Step #5

To the final 1/2 of your potting mix add your amendments and mix in well:

FOR TOMATOES, add 2 cups pelleted Dolomitic lime

FOR BRASSICAS, mix in 2 Tbsps. Bloodmeal (Nitrogen), aged compost, and/or decomp leaves. Cabbages, broccolis, cauliflowers, squash, cukes, and kohlrabis love growing in organic mediums!
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[Last edited by Gymgirl - Jul 15, 2011 12:55 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #99471 (9)
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:47 PM CST
Step #6

Fill ePlanter to top with the final 1/2 of your amended mix, set your plant, and water in well one final time, until run-off is established.

After watering in, pour 1 cup of balanced fertilizer in a 2" ring around your ePlanter, as far away from new roots as possible. Recommended fertilizers for eBuckets/ePlanters will have any combination of numbers between 10 and 15, e.g., 10-10-10, 13-13-13, 10-12-15, etc. Balanced means all three numbers will be the same.

Sprinkle top gently with garden hose so as to moisten (but not disturb) the fertilizer ring (run-off has already been established).

Position trellis and/or plant stake.

NOTES:
  • eBuckets/ePlanters are generally covered to prevent rainwater/hosing from washing away topsoil
  • Covering keeps the soil warmer and keeps water from splashing up on plants.
  • If using a lid (for 5-gallon buckets), cut holes for fill tube and plant using hole bits.
  • You may cover a planter with a square of dark plastic cut to fit. Use duct tape or a bungee cord to secure plastic cover to planter. Cut "x" slits in the plastic for the fill tube and seedling to fit through.
  • eBuckets/ePlanters will be a bit heavy after being filled with wet potting mix and the water in the reservoir. It is advisable to situate buckets/planters in their intended final location before planting. Or, have a plant dolly on hand!


Hope these pictorials are helpful to you!


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[Last edited by Gymgirl - Jul 15, 2011 1:03 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #99478 (10)
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 15, 2011 12:49 PM CST
All done!

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I tip my hat to you.

Linda
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 27, 2011 9:29 AM CST
bump!
Name: Melissa
Southwestern Ohio (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member Daylilies Hummingbirder Irises Raises cows Region: Ohio
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Melissa
Jul 28, 2011 10:14 AM CST
Thank you Linda!!! Great information!!

Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: Texas Daylilies Lilies
Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Marylyn
Jul 28, 2011 10:31 AM CST
I agree I agree Hurray!
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
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Ridesredmule
Jul 28, 2011 10:38 AM CST
You put the bucket inside that large planter when you finished???
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 28, 2011 11:03 AM CST
Charleen,
There's no bucket in the planter. I just used that pic to show the step of mixing the amendments into the top 1/2 of the potting mix, which is then used to top of and plant the seedling... I tip my hat to you.
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jul 28, 2011 11:04 AM CST
Thanks, guy!

No go out and build some and post fantastic pics here! Hurray!

Waldeburg
Jun 12, 2012 12:46 PM CST
Gymgirl,

Found you here from a link at Dave's Garden. Loving both sites and the knowledge garnered from them. I do have a couple questions regarding these self watering containers. I currently use 18 gal storage type containers to grow veggies in (pole beans, corn, cucumbers), 13 gal kitchen garbage cans for potatoes & 5 gal nursery pots for my 'maters -- as this is my first year, I am happy so far, but the idea of not wasting water as it pours out the drain holes is wonderful! I was thinking 2-3 rectangle plastic baskets found at the dollar stores could be set next to each other could serve as colanders in the 18gal totes (without the drainholes of my current ones, of course) with the watering pipe on/in the side of one of them. For my noob question though, how are the plants actually getting water? Do the roots seek out the water below the colander? How does this affect seedlings? I appreciate your help!
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Jun 12, 2012 12:55 PM CST
Wow, that is very nice. Thumbs up
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 13, 2012 3:52 PM CST
Waldeburg, In the DG site they went into more detail about construction tools, and potting medium. The tightly packed medium at the bottom acts as a wick to draw the water up to the higher levels and a cover helps slow evaporation from the top. As the plant grows, the roots will go down to the colander. A couple of things of note are type of medium. Needs to be fairly light so as not to crush the colandar and needs to wick the water up well, and NOT anything that contains fertilizer already as it won't get washed through as it would with top watering. Another point I learned the hard way, is to leave an inch or two of airspace above your drain tube for oxygen. I was going for maximum water capacity and didn't, so the medium soured somewhat and the tomatoes don't thrive as well as they should. third point is not to over fertilize! ( I did that last year too).
As to seedlings, if they are in the right temp and light, they should grow roots fast enough to be happy with the original soaking you gave the medium when you assembled it, especially if you have it covered. If you are sowing seed directly or the plants are tiny, you can lightly sprinkle from the top until they get going.
Hope that answers your questions...?
Carol

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