Author Topic: Self-regulating capillary mat watering (with budgie waterer)  (Read 7729 times)


  • Hectare
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  • Posts: 1,713
  • North London - heavy but fertile clay

It's worth looking at this photo in Allotments 4 All Gallery User Galleries Vinlander Capillary watering - Indoor capillary system - because the description contains how to make it and I don't know how to link it into the post. The close-up is also in the gallery.

I prefer this watering method because it is easy to make and it is low-tech throughout - almost no maintenance - almost nothing to go wrong - even in hard water areas. It is also cheap - though good capillary mat is worth buying and will last a lifetime - even so, you can buy 10x more mat than you'll ever need for the price of a high tech pump and solar cell (that comes with 10x as many failure modes).

I mostly use capillary matting on platforms sitting in troughs because I want to get the maximum light to the maximum number of seedlings.

You can see the space for a second 5L bottle, and how the mat is covered by non-woven black 'weed suppressor' - you can also see it doesn't completely stop moss & algae!   This mat system extends over and down the gaps along the the long sides of the platform so you can't really see that it dips in the water the full length of the trough.

The big plant is a 'Tahiti Lime' that survives very well with just a 'frost-stat' keeping it at 3-4C all winter - mainly because the mat system works on-demand - so it is never too dry or too wet. Citrus hate both extremes. Capillary even helps take water OUT of the pot if you've watered/fertilised from above (worth doing very occasionally when Spring approaches and demand rockets). My attrition rate for Citrus has dropped about 90% since I started using capillary. NB. Thick clay pots don't make good contact on their own - best to have some capillary straps with one end bedded in the compost up through the holes and the other end resting on the main mat.

I will cover the budgie waterer in the next post. And then maybe the outdoor system.

I also need to do some revision on how you link photo descriptions into a post! I suppose I could just copy it into the text...  Here it is:

Description: This is made from two thin T&G planks screwed through their bottom edge to either side of a heavier base plank, with a stub of 4x2 to close off each end - making a trough about 8cm deep lined with damp-proof membrane. The mat is on a platform made of real and/or artificial slates over supporting offcuts of paving slab (anything rotproof will do), making it about 1cm below the trough edge. The base plank was chosen to match the slates' width.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 15:31:26 by Vinlander »
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

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