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RE: My EarthTainer Project - Mistakes Made / Lessons Learned (Follow-Up #96)

posted by: rnewste on 02.19.2009 at 08:38 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Big Alan,

I learned from experience last season that it is not the size of the orifice that is the controlling metric. I actually experimented mid-summer with narrowing down the opening to a 1 inch wide slit - - and the potting mix still became too wet.

I am not a water hydrology Engineer, but my gut is telling me that the potting mix above the 9" by 9" wicking basket wants to "equalize" somehow with that big block of wet potting mix submerged below the aeration bench. The actual size of the orifice does not prevent this from happening.

Yes, if it were a fast moving process like in a firehose, the orifice would constrict the GPM flow rate. But in a slow moving capillary action, the mix above the aeration bench slowly saturated to come in harmony with the volume of mix in the wicking basket.

Rather than re-working them, I would try to lower the water table by sliding the AWS tube down further in the filler tube to maintain a 2" water level. This might help, but it is trial and error I am afraid, with the large basket. You definitely need a Moisture Meter to monitor the moisture content of the potting mix.

Raybo

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clipped on: 05.03.2009 at 02:27 pm    last updated on: 05.03.2009 at 02:29 pm