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09 May 2013 by Gavin Walsh

A "Growing" Phenomena

Growing vegetables, herbs and flowers are a favorite summer activity for people everywhere.  There is nothing quite so rewarding as slicing into a juicy tomato that started as a tiny seed just a few months before.  The rewards of gardening are not only tasty, but they also help stretch our food budgets, and add beauty to our homes.  Gardening is often recommended for health reasons, as a way of relieving stress and improving our physical fitness. Who knew a tomato plant or a geranium could do all that?  

For centuries, basic gardening concepts remained much the same.  A large tract of land would be plowed, furrowed, planted, weeded and harvested all summer long to provide a family with vegetables for their dinner table.  Nowadays, this type of high maintenance gardening is no longer practical, giving birth to the smaller scale, container gardening movement that is hugely popular today.  

New Advancements in the Old Art of Gardening

Container gardens require very little space and can be extremely productive, but they still require frequent watering.  A recent advance in the gardening world may just do away with daily watering chores permanently.   Self-watering planters are the newest and most talked about improvement in gardening since the advent of container gardens.  Basically defined as a planting container with a built in water reservoir for designed to meet the moisture needs of the plant over a period of several days, the self watering planter has tremendous benefits.

Available in all shapes and sizes, self watering planters utilize a wick system to move water from the water reservoir to the soil or planting medium, making the moisture available to the plant's roots on an as needed basis.  If the root systems become water-logged or receive inadequate air circulation, the plant will either be unproductive or die.  Self-watering planters are designed to prevent this with an aeration screen that keeps the reservoir separate from the roots and soil, preventing them from becoming waterlogged.  

Why Are Self-Watering Planters Better?

While a huge benefit for the gardeners, self-watering planters may be a benefit for the plant, also.  The absorption of moisture into the root system and the resulting evaporation through the plant's leaves is known as transpirational pull.  Plants grown in old fashioned gardens get water sporadically making the resulting growth sporadic, as well. A plant grown in a self-watering planter, however, gets a constant supply of moisture allowing the plant to grow continuously.  

Another benefit of a self-watering planter is the closed system design.  This closed system concentrates the soil nutrients solely for the use of plant in the planter.  None of the soil nutrients or moisture is being lost to neighboring plants, or absorbed by vacant patches of soil between plants. Haphazard watering and inadequate nutrition can stress plants, affecting both growth and health.  Using a self-watering planter keeps nutrients and water accessible to the plant at all times, allowing the plant to grow and produce to it's fullest possible potential.  

 Good for the Garden, Great for the Gardener...

Self-watering planters help protect plants against wind and temperature spikes which might cause them to dry out too quickly between conventional watering cycles.  Plants grown with this method also produce higher yields overall, due to the stable supply of moisture and nutrition.  Not only the plant, but the gardener will also reap major benefits by choosing to use self-watering planters. 

Gardeners today have more demands on their time than ever before.  Self-watering planters help by reducing our watering chores.  Depending on the needs of the actual plant involved, watering may become a weekly chore instead of every day or two.  Watering once had to be done in late evening or early morning to keep from burning the plants in hot weather.  Self-watering planters make this concern obsolete because watering is done from the bottom, where it is most beneficial to the plant. 

Go and Grow...

Self-watering planters can take the work out of summer gardening and give you pure enjoyment. Once you have picked  and eaten your own home grown sun-warmed tomato, you will never again be happy with grocery store vegetables. So, go now and grow...




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