I spent $15 on two self-watering pots and decided to add a barrier as any water holding area is often a breeding ground for mosquito larvae.
I'm not sure if you would call this a wicking pot but it serves very similar purpose.
Insert a piece of flyscreen on the inside to cover the hole.
Finished, I can now put potting mix and seedling into the pot.
At the bottom of the pot is a water resevoir and the mesh acts as a barrier against those dreaded mosquito larvae. I reckon my new self-watering pots will be perfect for growing herbs even in summer.
These pots are placed on the southern side of the house so they are shielded from the hot summer sun. I think I can look forward to copious amouts of coriander, parsley, mint, basil, chives, etc for at least 12 months and without much effort.
Good plan! The mozzie mesh will keep out the toads too, I hope. That's a down-side of commercial wicking pots - the overflow hole is way too big. The pot will function very well with a hole one quarter of the size! There's always too much drainage with pots.
You're right Elaine. This pot is so easy to do that I think I will do a couple more for growing salad veggies.
Your plants are looking so healthy Janet.
Thanks for the mesh idea, brilliant, easy additional step before adding the potting mix. What type of potting mix are you using in the new pots?, it looks like a good draining type.
Your right Elaine, why do they have what seems to be unnecessarily large holes in these self waterers?
I use a combination of shop bought potting mix combined with vermiculite, home made compost and tiny amount of Organic Extra pellets. My herbs seem to produce profusely. The best performer is the garlic chive.
I occasionally give them a drink of diluted seaweed extract and Powerfeed.
Sounds like a good mix. I've found that I need to add water-retentive items to the el cheepo stuff I use. Have used more expensive mix and found it contains a lot of fertilisers I don't use. Vermiculite is just fine as is coco-peat though the latter is organic and breaks down eventually where the Vermiculite does not.
No real idea, Rob. Suspect though that people are used to seeing a myriad of holes in ordinary pots and would not buy pots with minute holes. I have found that ordinary pots have more drainage than is necessary, making keeping them damp a major challenge. The commercial pots do not have enough depth of reservoir either and that plastic barrier doesn't help. The roots will go down into the reservoir when the reservoir is held in mix of some sort and not just free water. And as I found, toads can wriggle into the water reservoir and evicting them can be difficult.
There's a lot of drivel talked about wicking pots mostly by people who have not used them. A pot with a water reservoir held in potting mix or chips works just as well and is less fuss (or for me anyway). The two tricks are: depth of reservoir (around a third of the pot depth), and a small overflow hole 22mm in a 200L pot is adequate so a quite small hole in a much smaller pot works just fine, keeps out the mozzies and toads and the plants thrive.
No idea why commercial pot manufacturers make such large holes. Even the clay pots' holes are too generous. Then the old idea of adding 'crocks' broken pieces of pot or rocks just added to the woes.
Even with a really water-retentive mix, the mix can so easily dry out and nothing short of soaking for hours will rejuvenate the mix.
To convert, I have used the builder's plastic to cover the whole bottom and up the sides for a way. Then made a new hole in the pot (a heated apple corer works well as does a metal kebab skewer). Then added the mix making sure the plastic is tight against the pot wall. It's a bit rough and ready but does work and means many vessels I have here can become wicking bins without much money being spent. Oh and the idea overflow hole is around 1 third up from the bottom. And you don't really need that grille but then if you just use potting mix from the bottom up, there is no free water in the reservoir. The mesh is good to stop the mix from falling out.