Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Journal May 27, 2015 - Autopot - My Version

Finally got around to doing a serious test of my home built Autopot, so far so good.  That said, I have no idea of what kind of pepper plant is in the container.  

When I was starting tomato seeds, I found a package of seeds for mixed sweet peppers that had been in my seed collection for about three years, so I started some of them also.  Now, I have several unidentified pepper plants, but as long as they are sweet peppers I really don't care.

The plant is kind of strange, as it appears to be "leggy", but it has been getting more than adequate light, so it may just be the nature of the plant.  Hopefully, it will put out some lateral branches and fill out.

As for the system, it consists of a regular off the shelf pot from Wal-Mart, a kitty litter tray painted green, a piece of masonite board, also painted green, and an Autopot float valve.  I purchased the valve from a dealer in Texas a few years ago for ten dollars.

The reservoir is the black five gallon bucket on the shelf, which is attached to the float valve by 1/4" black tubing.  A good estimate of what it cost me to put this system together would be slightly less than twenty dollars.  

The five gallon container was filled with water when I potted the plant two weeks ago,  it is still 3/4 full at this point.  The media is my olive growing media, which I am now using for just about everything in the greenhouse.

The major change this year is that I am not feeding any of the plants from the reservoirs, they simply contain water.  Now, there is absolutely no chance of the lines clogging with sediments.  When I want to feed the plants, I shut off the valves from the reservoir and add the nutrients by top watering.  To fill the reservoirs, it is a simple matter of bringing a hose into the greenhouse and filling them from the hoseKeep it simple.

The nice feature of the Autopots is that, when working correctly, they maintain a consistent moisture level in the media.  This reduces blossom end rot and misshapen  fruit, both tomatoes and cucumbers.  

Even though I have had the greenhouse for several years, it is still very much a learning process.

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