Just like how water is critical for humans to function, it's also critical for plants to grow—and providing the proper amount of water to your plants may be the most important task in gardening. Water has a lot of important jobs in the garden: It helps with photosynthesis, delivers nutrients, and protects plants against diseases. Plants use about 95% of the water they receive for transpiration, which is basically how plants breathe. On hot, sunny days, the plant's transpiration rate increases—so wilting occurs quickly, unless plants are re-hydrated continually.
Whether you normally wake up early in the morning or wait until the evening to do your watering, chances are it isn't enough during peak growing season. By using the EarthBox® Automatic Watering System, water is delivered into the reservoir as your plants need it, without wasting a drop. Read on to learn more about this sophisticated system.
Watering “Just Right” with the EarthBox® Watering System
The single biggest reason many container garden plants fail is due to over-watering. Over-watering washes away nutrients, reduces oxygen intake, and causes root rot. One awesome thing about the EarthBox® gardening system is that you can't over-water! Once the reservoir is full, excess water will run out of the overflow drain, so there’s no point worrying about how much to water.
If you think gardening with EarthBox® is easy, just wait, because the Automatic Watering System (AWS) is a game-changer! After the initial set-up, the watering system will make sure the reservoir always has enough water! Therefore, we call it watering "just right".
How Self-Watering Planters Work
All EarthBox® gardening systems are sub-irrigated planters (SIPs), or self-watering—meaning, plants get watered from a reservoir at the bottom and take the water up through natural capillary action. Each EarthBox® Original system has a nearly 3-gallon water reservoir at the bottom of the container. You add water to the reservoir through the fill tube that sticks up out of the top of the system. It's like how a person gets oxygen while using a snorkel.
Key benefits of watering from the bottom include:
- Efficient and even watering
- Stronger root development
- Better nutrient absorption
- Fertilizer salts are pushed up and away from the growing medium
- Helps conserve water
- Easier for plants' roots to absorb nutrients
Different plants require different levels of water consumption. Having a full reservoir takes care of this need, regardless of where you are located, because we all know the USDA zones and climate also play a huge role in how much water your plant will consume.
Your plants are smart. They know what they need and how much to drink. They’ll help themselves to the water provided whenever they need it, which is why the reservoir should always have water available. Just as you can’t overwater with the EarthBox® gardening system, plants will only take what is necessary.
What's Included with the EarthBox® Automatic Watering System
Your AWS will include these components:
- 1 Pressure Regulator
- Sensors (2, 4, 6, or 12)
- Black T-connectors (1, 3, 5, or 11)
- 1 Reducer
- 1 Splitter
- .25” (inner diameter) tubing
- .125” (inner diameter) tubing
- Instruction manual
Simply connect the Pressure Regulator to a constant-supply water source, such as an outdoor spigot for a garden hose. Then, connect the larger tubing and T-connector between the Regulator and the Sensor in your EarthBox® system's fill tube. The Sensor is designed to respond to the pressure inside your EarthBox® system's water reservoir. The Sensor head will then drip water into the reservoir accordingly. It will never over-water and will help maintain the appropriate water level according your plant's needs.
Remember, when setting up and using the AWS, make sure all EarthBox® gardening systems are on a level surface so the water inside the box is evenly distributed.
Below is a diagram of setting up the EarthBox® Automatic Watering System 2 ways:
If you have more than one box and are looking for even more water efficiency, here is a link to a a video for setting up multiple systems.
AWS Assembly Tips and Tricks
If you are having trouble assembling the tubing and connectors, you may need try one of the following methods:
- Try using a non-petroleum-based product, such as silicone grease, to make it easier to assemble. We do not recommend using petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline®) or other oils.
- Try using a lighter or heat gun on the ends of the tubing to soften it up before pushing it onto the connectors.
- Use latex or nitrile gloves for added grip to push the tubing onto the connectors.
There are many factors to consider when experiencing any problems with your EarthBox® Automatic Watering System—where you live, how long you've used your Automatic Watering System, and how well your AWS has been maintained—all factor in to the lifespan of the product, and how well it will work. As would be expected with any mechanical product, you may experience some minor problems after usage. Below is a troubleshooting guide to help you restore proper functionality of your AWS.
1. The EarthBox® overflow drain is leaking/overflowing
2. The EarthBox® isn't getting any water
|3. The AWS Pressure Regulator isn't working||
Set It and Forget It!
You will literally set it and forget it with the EarthBox® Automatic Watering System. The superior design establishes a constant water source to your EarthBox® gardening systems, allowing you to spend less time watering and more time enjoying your garden. It's the perfect option for your plants while you are out of town on vacation or at work.
Tell us in the comments: How has the Automatic Watering System helped you? Share your experience with us!