Celebrating Self-Watering Containers: Making Growing Edibles Easier for All & Saving Water too!
Spring and summer weather often leaves plants and gardeners wilting during punishing droughts and intense heatwaves. Raising plants in containers requires far more water than growing plants in the ground. If you’ve got a penchant for container gardening, I’d like to introduce you to self-watering containers: literal lifesavers for plants and gardeners! I’m here to show you effective yet simple to use products that will enable you to enjoy success growing a wide range of edible crops, like these chilli peppers that I grew this year.
Gardman Plant Towers
Gardman Plant Tower pots include an insert that drops into the bottom of the pot, creating a reservoir. Cones in the insert are filled with compost, these utilise capillary action to draw water up to the plant’s roots.
Last year, my Gardman Plant Tower planters overflowed when it rained; unfortunately, there was no mechanism to allow excess water to drain away. Left with unhappy plants drowning in compost soup I forged a plan to correct this error: three holes were drilled in each of my Gardman Plant Tower pots; the holes were positioned just above the planter’s reservoir, allowing excess water to run out. This simple adaptation transformed my growing in Gardman Plant Towers and these plants produced a decent harvest.
The Autopot 4Pot Pro Watering System
The initial setup of the Autopot is rather fiddly. The pipes need to be laid out and connected, and the trays and floats assembled correctly. However, once installed, due to the large size of the reservoir, the Autopot requires minimal effort. Simply fill the reservoir with water and fertiliser every 2-3 weeks (check weekly during heatwaves).
I only had one problem: a float got stuck in the ‘open’ position causing my Autopot’s tank to overflow the tray and start draining the reservoir. Thankfully, wiggling the float released it. Apart from this one incident, my Autopot 4-Pot System worked perfectly all summer. The Autopot 4-Pot Pro System performed exceptionally well, maintaining a consistent supply of water to plants’ roots with minimal intervention required. My Autopot 4-Pot System produced fantastic plants with a bumper harvest!
The Quadgrow Self-Watering Planter
The Quadgrow is simpler to set up than the Autopot. It features two connected ‘SmartReservoirs’ that together hold 30L of water; Quadgrow plant pots sit in recesses (two above each tank). Inside each pot, capillary matting runs through the compost down into the SmartReservoir below. Capillary action draws water and fertiliser up to the compost and the plant’s roots.
The Quadgrow has a smaller reservoir so requires more frequent filling than the Autopot (check every other day in hot weather). During intense heatwaves, my Quadgrow plants consumed their entire 30L tank of water in 2-3 days. Despite the Quadgrow producing larger and bushier, more impressive-looking plants, the overall yield from my Quadgrow system was significantly less than that achieved by the plants grown in the Autopot 4-Pot System.
To see every article I’ve written about the Quadgrow Self-Watering Planter, please click here.
NB: All of my self-watering containers were filled with Coco & Coir Bloom All Purpose Compost; I used the fertilisers that were recommended by the manufacturers of each product. To see every article I have written about Coco & Coir Bloom All Purpose Compost, please click here.
To find out more about chilli pepper ‘Pepperilli’ that you see pictured in this article, please click here.
For more information about my Chilli Pepper Trials, please click here.
For more information and links to more articles about chilli peppers, please click here.
More Trials and other articles that may interest you……….
To see my plant pages and see my photographs and information on growing vegetables, fruit, houseplants, perennials, trees, plants for pollinators, shrubs, orchids, ferns, climbing plants, and scented plants, please click here.
To see all my Outdoor Trials, please click here.
To read about houseplants, please click here.
For more articles about automated plant care, please click here.
To read about the Quadgrow Self-Watering Planter, please click here.
To see all my Container Trials, please click here.
To see my Vegepod, please click here.
To see my mini glasshouse, please click here.
EmmaDecember 2, 2022 at 10:46am
thank you for yet another detailed review !
With the drought we’ve been having in the past years, I’ve given serious thought about switching to self-watering containers for my tomatoes. I’ve had my eye on The Quadgrow system for some time, and I am now also considering the Autopot System. Your post might just be what will push me to take the (financial) jump !
Great job, as always,
(ps : my pond is *finally* starting to fill up … the ducks are back ! very happy …)
Pumpkin BethDecember 2, 2022 at 10:56am
It’s great to hear from you! I am so glad that your pond is now filling up with rainwater and the ducks have returned – that’s wonderful news! Hooray!
The Autopot is fantastic! I’ve been trialling the Autopot 4Pot Pro Watering System for two years – it’s such a great product. I am sure you’ll achieve a great harvest if you use the Autopot or Quadgrow.
I’ve been trialling self-watering containers for goodness knows how many years – certainly more than 20 years. My Self-Watering Container Trials will continue next year.