From Mrs Dorrit Smith
Best Greenhouse Competition.
I saw them at the Eden Project and knew instantly that they were going to solve the problems of creating a
self - watering green house. I had tried the timed “drip system” for two years in a row and the same problem occurred each year ….. A full grown tomato plant in “full swig” yes swig , needed far more water than the capsicums, aubergines, cucumbers, basil and herbs. You simply could not get enough adjustment to last the season. Some drowned and some dried … so the appeal of a flotation valve delivering just what a plant needed was too much for me. I decided to give it
a go. After seeing the early results I decided to kit out the whole greenhouse. It is only small …. 10 X 8 but with high rounded eaves and it always produces enough crop for me to make all the Ratatouille and Pesto I need for the year.
The difference this year was that the daily and sometimes twice daily chore of watering and checking was over!
All I had to do was tend and pick and top up the tank with water and liquid food.
I used a 700 litre Harcostar tank with the in line filter, filled and refilled with rain water and because the plants were being fed every day once the first truss was set I halved the quantity of feed. The results have been stunning.
I have never had such huge aubergines , there have been enough bell peppers to stuff, Greek style, and the basil and coriander burgeoned like never before. Cucumbers were fantastic and the tomatoes did not split. All this was because they were each getting what they needed from the system rather that what I guessed they needed ….. Perfect!
The growing medium was a half and half mix of my own garden soil and 2 year old compost made from our shredded hedge trimmings and pruning’s, none of which was sterilised. I added the correct amount of John Innes compound to
the mix to give them all the usual good start and did not start the feeding until the tomatoes had set one truss.
The plumbing was ordinary garden hose from the tank into the greenhouse with spurs off to each tray. I enclosed the main hose with lengths of plumber’s insulation foam to prevent the water getting scalding hot on delivery and also covered it with some upturned guttering to the same end.
It looked really neat and the most untidy thing about the greenhouse were the redundant watering cans!!
The whole thing has saved us hours of work this season. We have been able to go out in the evening without thinking that we have to water the greenhouse and we went away for two weeks in early May and three weeks in the summer, knowing that no-one would either over or under- water and that all neighbours had to do was to pick the produce …. They all like doing that!
Thank you Auto Pot. I hope that we shall have many years of use from this innovative and very successful system …
I’m hooked, and so are lots of my friends!
Here are the varieties grown:
- Tomato Ailsa Craig
- Aubergine. Black Beauty.
- Capsicum Bell Boy
- Capsicum Long Red Marconi rossa
- Capsicum Hungarian Wax
- Cucumber Cumlaud
- Basil Lettuce Leaved
- Coriander Cilantro