2023 - Volume #47, Issue #1, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Self-Watering Milk Crate Planters
“My plants get water 24/7 as they need it,” says Hauzie. “It’s the fluctuation of too little and too much water that causes problems like cracking in tomatoes.”
His crates are lined with Kangaroo Pouches, fabric liners that hold dirt while letting excess water drain away. Before adding the dirt, he places a cut-down bucket in the bottom of the lined crate.
“I cut 5-gal. buckets in half and cut a 3-in. hole in the center of the lid for a net pot,” says Hauzie. “I also drill a hole in the lid for a 1-in. pvc fill pipe and install it.”
With the bucket, lid and pipe in place, Hauzie fills the crate with potting soil. Once seedlings have been added, he fills the bucket with water, using the fill pipe. Initially, he has to water the seedlings, but they soon take over the job.
“They send their roots through the net pot and into the water,” says Hauzie. “Normally, I would have to water these plants every day in the summer. Instead, I simply fill the buckets as they empty.”
While he bought all the components initially, most are long-lasting.
“The liners, buckets, net pots and pipes will last forever,” says Hauzie. “If I bring the containers inside and don’t let it rain or snow on the crates, the potting soil will last at least 2 years, and the Kangaroo pouches will last 5 to 6 years.”
Bringing the containers inside is easy for Hauzie. He has 10 of them mounted on a 3-ft. wide, 10-ft. long cart. At the end of the growing season, or in the case of threatening weather, he simply pushes it inside his garage.
The containers are a good supplement to his hoop house and garden beds, where he grows vegetables for his local farmers market.
“The containers work great for mini peppers, tomatoes, peas and more,” says Hauzie. “I plant basil in two of them. That is always a best seller at the market.”
Hauzie sells produce weekly from July through October. He likes to hire neighborhood boys to help. He notes that it’s good for him and them.
“I get some help, and they learn how to talk to people and count out money,” says Hauzie.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eugene Hauzie, 316 County Park Rd., Ebensburg, Penn. 15931 (ph 814-254-2469).
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