E-mail - Using a Wick Watering System

hey Doc - have you ever experimented with any type of "wick" type feeding/irrigating? is so, did it take several set up attempts before it worked well? how many wicks should i be using in a 2 gallon container? I’m using 3 glasscloth wicks per container - this will be the fourth attempt I’ve made at this "wick" system and I’m about to give up 'cause i can't get it right.

I have used a wick system a couple times, when I had to go away on a trip and I was worried my plants might dry out. I used an actual wick for oil lamps, but anything that absorbs water will do old shirts and rags etc. You want the wick to be in as much contact with the soil as possible, so if you know you are going to use a wick, put it in the pot when you transplant the plant so that it runs down the side and along the bottom, maybe even wrap it around the bottom of the pot in a circle. Then fill in the soil mix. You want to make sure the wick is not pulled down on the top of the container too tight, this may keep the water from flowing. Make sure the whole wick is saturated and put the other end in the bucket with water. The water should wick or diffuse from the container of water to the soil. It might help to mix in with your soil some vermiculite or coco coir that will help absorb the water from the wick.

I hope this helps,
Good Growing,

Dr. E.R. Myers


hillbilly said...

Doc - i stuck 2 wicks in each 2 gallon container on the table. i unraveled the glasscloth rope braid, producing 3 smaller "feeder ropes" to spread out. the tops of each container's soilless mix has never looked moist. the plants in these containers are growing and appear somewhat happy but lack the overall vigor of my other plants - which i hand water (much more successfully now since reading your watering technique writings on this blog). these plants i hand water are in the same 2 gallon containers as the wick pots and are planted in the same soilless mix. do you think it is a simple matter of not having enough wicks for each pot? or not distributing the wicks properly throughout the mix? or could it be my poor choice of peat-based soilless mix as substrate? whatcha think Doc - whatcha think?

hillbilly said...

hello Dr. Myers - i tried out your suggestion about using old t shirt strands as wick material and transplanted my wick plants. i used 4 "wicks" per 2 gallon pot and took special care in positioning the strands at the end in the substrate - i cut approx 1/4 inch wide strands about 10 inches long into the t shirt wicks (which were about 3 inches wide and 24 inches long). i trimmed the strands to varying lengths. the top of the soilless mix in my 2 gallon pots with wicks is now moist. thanks for the suggestions and thanks twice for hosting this blog. as i've told you in the past, i have no gardening people in my life and simply having a quality blog to visit and bounce ideas around on helps me overcome discouragement - other blogs i have visited seem to have a lot of UNRELIABLE info and personality conflict type stuff. had it not been for this blog of yours, i may have simply given up on my poor wick experiment.