In the previous post I covered how to set up a GroBucket and now it is time to test the GroBucket self watering planter in the garden. This is where the rubber meets the road.
GroBucket Self Watering Planter Grow Day 0
Today my newly set up buckets were put in the garden. It had been rainy yesterday so I delayed setting the plants out. This morning the rain has stopped but it is still cloudy.
I have 2 peppers a green and a red and a bush tomato. Cant tell you much more about them. I started late in the season so plant availability and condition was not the best. I picked the best I could find and am hoping for the best. Tomorrow is 4th of July so hopefully they dont get blown up.
I want to tell you a bit about where I am located. I live in the Skagit Valley, you know, where they grow all the tulips. Unfortunately while tulips thrive here most heat loving plants do not.
We have a modified Mediterranean climate here. We have long days being so far North and relatively dry summers. Even with a long growing season tomatoes and such dont do that well because we lack heat. Day temps are usually in the mid to upper 70s and nights are cool thanks to the ocean’s influence.
Because of the cool nights everything takes much longer to mature than what the seed packet says. So if this GroBucket self watering planter can ripen my tomatoes I will be really impressed. Peppers are a bit easier to ripen but usually you end up with a big pile of green tomatoes.
The Plants In A Self Watering 5 Gallon Bucket System
You can see from the pictures above that these plants are not starting out in the best of health. The pepper in the middle is definitely not happy and rolling up her leaves. The other pepper has damaged leaves but should be OK in time. The tomato looks good. All these plants were jammed in a rack, shaded and heavily over watered.
I use Canna coco for a grow medium. I found it to be the best quality coco on the market. It is superior to peat based potting soil in every way. Also it is reusable and environmentally friendly and is a byproduct from coconut harvest unlike peat which is strip mined. Coco comes in bricks or bags and I prefer the bricks. They are very easy to rehydrate.
I also use CaliMagic when I soak my bricks to precharge my coco and get it ready for plants. A little goes a long way. I use 3ml per gallon in my water.
I am not really measuring success by my harvest. What I am interested in is how well the plants grow in this 5 gallon bucket system. Very curious to see how often the reservoir needs to be filled during our dry summers. I think with a little TLC I can get everything humming along in good health.
If you want to see the first GroBucket video with unboxing and set up it is here: http://subirrigatedplanter.com/grobucket-self-watering-5-gallon-bucket-system-review/
GroBucket 5 Gallon Bucket Grow Day 7
Not the best weather for peppers or tomatoes but the plants have settled in and once the weather settles they should be off to the races. It has been rainy so I have not needed to fill the reservoirs on these grow buckets.
GroBucket 5 Gallon Bucket System Grow Day 14
Weather has not been great. You would never know it is mid July here. We have only had one day with full sun and temps in the mid 70s.
The next 2 days are supposed to be rainy with temps in the 60s but they say after that it will warm up.In spite of the weather the plants are growing and drinking and I need to refill the reservoirs.
GroBucket Self Watering Planter Day 21
The weather has stabilized a bit and things are getting warmer and sunnier. Thank God. One of the wettest Julys on record and it is not done yet!
Plants are growing and drinking. I filled the reservoirs 3 days ago and they are almost dry so I guess they will need to be filled every 3 days unless it gets warmer.
New peppers forming and I also found a tomato hiding in the foliage too. The tomato is flowering and very stocky and upright. Hoping she wont need staking but she might later in the season.
The peppers were being eaten by something and still have holes in the leaves. Still they look a lot better than they did before and the sickly yellow and leaf rolling are pretty much gone.
Day 28 We Have Grow Bucket Tomatoes!
Happy to see some tomatoes in my GroBucket. Weather has warmed and stabilized and plants are happy and growing.
They are going through a full reservoir every 3 days at this time. I added a cal/mag feeding because the peppers were showing some signs of deficiency.
This can show up as curled and deformed upper leaves. They tops look better after only 3 days. Peppers use a lot and coco needs cal/mag supplementation too so I am not surprised to see deficiency symptoms.
Something is eating large holes in my pepper plant leaves. I suspect it is snail damage. The damage is not too bad on my larger peppers but I have some smaller plants that got eaten to the ground. I have hunted for them and found a few but obviously not enough. So I guess its time to buy some bait.
GroBucket Early Harvest Day 30
So today I picked my first green pepper for tonight’s salad! There are a bunch more. The green pepper plant is definitely out producing the red one. Also spotted a Roma tomato turning.
Decided to skip the slug bait. At this point I feel I can live with a few holes in my leaves.
The GroBuckets are working great. Considering these plants were not set out until after July 4th I am pretty impressed with the progress.
GROBUCKETS TEST GROW AND REVIEW Day 42
Skipped a few days from my last update. Today is day 42. The weather has been decent and plants continue to grow.
Although its mid August it is starting to feel more like fall. The days are getting noticeably shorter and it looks and feels like the plants have shifted from their earlier vigorous growth over to ripening mode.
I have been watering the GroBuckets every 2 days at this point. Except for whatever is eating holes in my leaves and what ate my first red tomato I am pretty happy with how things are going.
Day 56 Labor Day Weekend Update And Earwig Control
Fall is in the air. My peppers are pretty much done and some tomatoes are ripening.I am making an effort to control earwigs. I had a lot of damage to leaves that I thought were caused by snails.Discovered the culprits by accidentally finding inside my peppers. They are nocturnal so usually you dont see them during the day.
Turned out it was earwigs. Never thought the could do so much damage! But they breed in the fall and larva overwinter and then the cycle starts all over so now is the time to knock them back! Using Sluggo Plus to control them now.