Sunday, January 22, 2012
January 22, 2012 journal
As much as I like using AutoPots the recent episode with the cucumbers has convinced me that they do have a tendency to overwater.
The problem is more evident when growing indoors, where the rate of growth and transpiration is much slower than in the greenhouse.
I thought that installing cut off valves on the feed lines, before the smart valve, would solve the problem, but the question was: how wet was the media at the bottom of the pot?
Today I purchased a Rapitest digital moisture meter at a local garden shop and I am quite impressed with the performance. The programmed plants are all house plants, so they are of little use to me, however, by using the basic setting and inserting the probe 2/3 of the way into the container I can get an accurate reference on how moist the media is.
I have had the feed to the cucumbers turned off for several days and they are looking much better. As the reading on the cucumbers was 3, I turned on the valve and let the reservoir fill turning the valve off when the reservoir was filled.
After testing the tomatoes and peppers I found the readings to be in the 8 and 9 range on a scale of 10, so I have turned off the feed to the smart valves.
My thinking is to monitor the levels and turn the valves on when the reading is 3 or 4. Over time I can determine how the plants respond, and the best level for each variety.
When using the meter I simply select the basic setting, insert the probe and read the scale. The probe is cleaned on a paper towel before being inserted into the next plant. That simple.
I suspect that this tool will be well worth the twenty dollars it cost me.