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Hydromatic Container Gardening

Container Gardens with Automatic Osmotic Water Retainer
  [vote for,

For those of you familiar with potting mix or soil based container gardening, we know that due to the high surface area of the container and wasteful drainage, water retention can be an issue especially in drier climates. Introducing Hydromatic Container Gardening to solve the problem of keeping your precious plants sufficiently watered.

The containers themselves are divided into two distinct sections, the top layer which contains the growing substrate such as potting mix or soil, and the bottom section containing a reservoir to contain excess run off from rain or regular watering.

The reservoir is made from plastic and has an overflow outlet and 'sump' plug. The barrier between the substrate section and the reservoir has necessary drainage holes to ensure the roots of the plants are not saturated and allows the excess water to drain into the water reservoir. The barrier also includes a hydrophilic 'wick' perhaps made from a fibreglass-like insulation material, to allow the reservoir to feed the roots of the plants as they transpire.

In the case of dry weather or neglecting to water your plants, the dry soil and the 'suction' of the roots allows the wick to facilitate the flow of the water from the reservoir into the substrate. As the system tries to equalize - as the dry substrate becomes wetter due to the osmotic action of the wick - the soil eventually reaches a natural equilibrium and the purpose of the water reservoir is realized.

In dry climates, or those experiencing a drought, one can relax as we know our plants will sap up the water from the reservoir and stay healthy.

This Hydromatic Plant Grower system basically creates an artificial water table inside the container. To prevent algal, fungal or stagnant water a combination of a small copper button (anti-algal/bacterial prophylactic measure) and a solar powered electrolysis mechanism ensure that the water does not harbour plant pathogens.

To prevent soil and capillary roots from blocking the drainage holes at the bottom of the growing substrate section, a metallic razor sharp alloy ring cap around the drainage holes slows the decent of the roots strait into the reservoir. Additionally perhaps a plant hormone (that inhibits growth) embedded plastic can repel the roots from reaching the reservoir directly.

With the Hydromatic Plant Grower one must take care not to over-feed the the plants, since extra nutrients will accumulate in the reservoir and possibly cause a toxicity problem. Should this happen the reservoir should be drained completely and filled with clean fresh water.

Using this system we can grow plants in containers that are much more water efficient than existing systems by reducing losses via drainage and also accumulating water excesses. The downside is that this product will be much heavier than a 'normal' ceramic or plastic container and therefore may not be suitable for some situations in high rise apartment buildings etc.

AngelEleven, Jan 10 2016

Reservoir dog...woods. http://www.thegrows...7/eco_insert_2_.jpg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jan 10 2016]

self explanitory Copper_20coated_20car_20tires
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jan 11 2016]

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       I like the idea. There are several designs like this now, [link], except for the "small copper button (anti-algal/bacterial prophylactic measure) and a solar powered electrolysis mechanism" part.
I'd like to hear more about that.

       Copper and Silver both inhibit the growth of bacteria, and I believe this applies to algae as well. The electrolysis maintains a slow and steady oxygen supply and a biologically annoying electric current which will also help inhibit fungal growth. This way, without physical agitation the water doesn't 'stagnate' and become a pathogenic cesspool for plants.   

       The copper button also helps maintain a neutral pH of the water by reaction with ions, it must be noted that the copper button is not part of the electrolysis - the electrolysis may be facilitated by gold/nickel plated anode and cathode.   

       I was not aware that this reservoir system already exists in some form - I am looking for some other designs so perhaps my partner and I can make our own and go into production. In this particular idea it is built from plywood and sealed with bin sealant PVC paint.   

       The design we are working on is significantly different to the link, however serves the same purpose.
AngelEleven, Jan 10 2016

       Sweet. Here's some in-house talk on the subject; [link]2.
You should be able to make something novel enough to compete on the market, but what stops someone with better connections/deeper pockets from putting you out of business?

       I am sure someone with better resources may be able to bully me out of my place, but for now I have my place. For me to stay competitive we offer a crafted product, handmade with wood, perhaps decorated in colourful paints - or made to order. This way I can earn the same amount as a production manager at the competitors factory. I just need to make 10 a day perhaps, opposed to the 1000's a day a big player might have to produce in order to make equivalent money.   

       As a unique and new offering in my part of the world, currently experiencing a 5 year long drought, and food prices rocketing, those whom can afford my premium and exclusive product can potentially secure their own personal food and fresh water supply.   

       Beat that big business - you handle the 80%, I am quite happy with my 20% in the local market.
AngelEleven, Jan 11 2016

       Is there a difference between yours and the one in Shy's link?   

       If so could you make one, or make a drawing? I could help you with a Wix based website if you have pictures.
pashute, Jan 13 2016

       will publish shortly. will put pictures of my design and finished products. Perhaps 2 weeks.
AngelEleven, Jan 13 2016

       Cool, but then the idea will be baked and somebody will tag it as [marked-for-deletion]   

       ...that doesn't guarantee that your posting will be deleted... just that it will no longer be half-baked then.   

       In that case I will publish half finished designs, and half complete production products. Then it is surely half baked in this context.   

       My design is significantly different, and applies a similar principle to the link.
AngelEleven, Jan 13 2016


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