Here is the latest update on my Alaska Grow Bucket System. All of this year's tomato plants seem to be doing as well as ever just 4 weeks after transplanting into the improved Alaska Grow Bucket System.
My new fertilizer seems to be promoting blooming over foliage growth. At least I am not getting the large bushy plants I had last year. This year I am trying Jobes Organics Vegetable & Tomato fertilizer this is listed as a 2-7-4 plant food made from bone meal, chicken feather meal, and composted chicken manure with additional beneficial bacteria and fungi including mycorrhizae. I also cut back on the total number of plants to allow more space and hopefully improved ventilation and humidity control. I have also tried to be more vigilant in pinching off unwanted sucker growth.
All of the Grow Buckets are connected by a single gravity feed 1/2" flexible vinyl tube that is fed by a float valve regulator in the green bucket with the orange lid in the upper right corner of this photo. This maintains a constant self-watering irrigation system that requires no electricity.
The Float Valve Regulator in the green bucket is connected to a 35 gallon gravity feed reservoir made from an inexpensive plastic trash container. At this point in the season I simply refill the bulk reservoir about every 2 weeks. As the plants continue to grow the water needs will increase and the refilling frequency will also increase. The beauty of this system is that the peat based growing medium will absorb the correct amount of water to remain moist. So the system is self regulating - as long as the water supply does not run dry. A simple visual check every few days is all that it takes. Another advantage of any Sub Irrigated Planter (SIP) system, for those gardeners that live in arid climates with limited water resources, is that by covering the Grow Buckets and keeping the reservoir covered you will greatly reduce water loss through evaporation. This is another problem that occurs with traditional planting methods and above ground irrigation. Water savings can be substantial.
Here is an overview of the entire improved Alaska Grow Bucket - Sub Irrigated Planter (SIP) System. From The Bulk Reservoir, to the Float Valve Regulator, to the easy to make Alaska Grow Buckets. It works great for tomatoes, but works equally well for peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, and many other vegetables. I believe it is the easiest system that anybody can use to grow their own food at home - on a terrace or balcony, a porch or patio, or in a backyard greenhouse. Get your Free DIY plans HERE.
And that's what it's all about.