Ask a Question forum→Issue with sub irrigated planter: veggies never finish growing

Views: 179, Replies: 7 » Jump to the end
Central NJ
Duffman77
Apr 23, 2018 7:51 AM CST
A few years ago, I built a sub irrigated planter box, as listed on the family handyman magazine/site
I made up my own soil mixture based on the article-- tried it a few years now-- the plants start off great-- cucumber plants growing and climbing...etc. The cucumber starts budding, then growing, but never finishes.
I also tried some pea plants-- they started off great, then just all started dying.
Not sure what i'm doing wrong here.
Before I start planting again, I'd like to see if there's something I should be doing before planting.

Colin

Thumb of 2018-04-23/Duffman77/51e2f8

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Apr 23, 2018 9:50 AM CST
Welcome!

If your plants start out great but then die before they mature, I would suspect a watering problem. Is there a bottom in your planter? Maybe the planter can't drain properly and the soil at the bottom of the planter stays too wet. Have you dug down there to see what's going on?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Central NJ
Duffman77
Apr 23, 2018 10:54 AM CST
DaisyI said: Welcome!

If your plants start out great but then die before they mature, I would suspect a watering problem. Is there a bottom in your planter? Maybe the planter can't drain properly and the soil at the bottom of the planter stays too wet. Have you dug down there to see what's going on?


The box has a pond liner in the bottom, to hold water. There are 4 perforated drainage pipes with a fill tube at the end. There is an overflow pipe that is cut in just above the drainage pipes-- so the water level will only go up as high as the top of the pipes.
Whenever I've checked the soil, it's plenty moist-- i've only watered the top a few times on really hot days.

Colin




Thumb of 2018-04-23/Duffman77/7a8ba6

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Apr 23, 2018 2:24 PM CST
Subirrigated planters can be very tricky and not as simple as imagined. The quality of the soil (porosity) is critical because the system depends on capillary action through soil pores. Standard garden soil is often too dense and will keep the soil too saturated. In addition, healthy roots can interfere with the holes in the pipes.

What is your reason for using this planter as opposed to planting in the ground or in a standard planter box?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Central NJ
Duffman77
Apr 23, 2018 4:22 PM CST
WillC said:
What is your reason for using this planter as opposed to planting in the ground or in a standard planter box?


When I saw the family handyman article, I thought it looked neat-- wouldn't have to water it everyday, and not a waste of water. When I yank the dead plants at the end of the season, they have quite long roots, and seemed to have no issues getting thru the soil.

Colin

Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Rabbit Keeper Frugal Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level
Plant Identifier Region: Georgia Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter Garden Sages Bookworm
Image
greene
Apr 23, 2018 5:03 PM CST
If I remember my research, plants in this type of set up need a certain amount of air...in the soil. And yes, the soil mix is critical.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Apr 23, 2018 10:24 PM CST
Essentially, the roots are always sitting in water. You garden is drowning - that's the point I was trying to make.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Central NJ
Duffman77
Apr 24, 2018 7:24 AM CST
DaisyI said:Essentially, the roots are always sitting in water. You garden is drowning - that's the point I was trying to make.


The roots can't make it down to the water-- there is an overflow pipe that will only allow water to go as high as the top of the 4 perforated pipes. I have soil around those pipes and a layer of garden fabric on top of it. On top of that i have ~8" of soil for the roots to grow in. It is possible that the soil is too wet, but i don't think the roots actually make it to any standing water.

Colin


« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Agastache"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.