Watering potted tomatoes while away

veggarden_2010June 8, 2012

I am proud to say that despite the challenges of growing tomatoes in the Georgia heat, our temperate spring has supported a healthy an productive tomato plant on my second story porch. I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow and have investigated several different ideas for keeping the plant watered, including the generous neighbor idea, drip timer systems, etc. One intriguing idea was posted on another forum by a gardener who suggests using a length of thick cotton rope (clothesline size) and stringing it through the cap of a large bottle of water. The remaining length is placed on top of the soil surrounding the plant. The water bottle is placed above the soil level, in my case on a chair adjacent to the pot in an upside-down fashion. The result is a water saturated rope for continuous moisture. I tested this idea last night by threading rope through the top spicket of a Thermos (2 gallons). I turned the Thermos on its side and placed the remaining rope in a swirl pattern around the plant. The rope was pre-saturated with water to get things moving. My question is, has any one used this method? I checked the water level in the Thermos this morning and found that I didn't screw the top on tight enough and water leaked out of the top and on the the floor. No time now to really test the system since I leave tomorrow. Is there a flaw in the science of this idea? Please help! I want tomatoes this summer!

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

How many days will you be gone?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:41AM
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Get yourself a small timer like you use for the Christmas lights and hook that up to a small water pump like found on one of those "water features" things you can set on the table in the living room. Give it a large supply of water via a 5 gallon bucket or larger and then put the output of the little pump into the bucket for the plant.

If you set it up to catch the runoff from the container, you will not waste any water and the plant will get a watering once a day or whatever you want. I saw one set up for a single plant that used a childs small plastic wading pool with a small bilge pump and a return water catcher. It was good for 2 weeks plus for a single plant.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 4:32PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You can buy ready to install small drip irrigation set-ups from many different sources. They are complete with timers, pressure reducer, feeder lines and drip emitters for approx. $50 or similar set-ups without the auto timer for any where from $15 to $25 if there is someone who can turn it on and off for you. Example of one below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Container drip system

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 6:20PM
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Next time put the pot in a 5 gallon bucket or Aluminum baking pan, fill the space around the pot 1 inch for every day you will begone.
This work great for short span of time, no more then 5-7 days. As soon as you get home remove the pots from the water bucket. I have done this with Japanese Maples, fig trees,& many house plant in hot August heat of the South.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 4:47PM
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