Which system is better?
The other day I showed a wick system design using a 5 gallon bucket, and wick attached to a 6 inch net pot. To test the effectiveness I need a control setup to compare against. For this I’ll use a 5 gallon self-watering container. This is a known and tested design used by many growers. It is essentially another version of wick system, but the potting mix is part of the wicking mechanism.
The control system is made from two 5 gallon buckets, one nested in the other. The internal one has 1/4″ holes drilled in the bottom to form an aeration screen, and a 3 inch hole in the center for a three inch net pot. Potting mix is filled down into the net pot and the rest of the internal bucket which contains the plant. The bottom bucket has a 1/4″ overflow hole that is placed 1/2 – 3/4 inch below the bottom of the internal bucket to prevent nutrient solution from touching the bottom. This is a proven design similar to commercial Earth box systems.
The principles of both designs are the same, just the method of wicking are different. I will setup the traditionally wick system with another White Devil’s Tail, which is the same age as the one in the other system. Both will be fed the same hydroponic nutrients. Both with receive the same amount and type of lighting. They will initially be inside under a 400 watt CMH light, and will go outside later.
If the new version works the same or better, I will use it for future self-watering setups. The advantages are having a much larger reservoir, and requiring less potting medium. Also only one bucket is needed instead of two. Overall the net pot wick system would be less expensive to setup than the traditional self-watering container.