This is a review of the self-watering salad and vegetable planter manufactured by Greenhouse Sensations.
If you’ve read my rambles over the years, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of my Quadgrow planters. They work on a simple principle, supplying enough water to the plants by means of a wick from a reservoir but not too much. Too much water causes the growing medium to waterlog and drive out oxygen which plant roots also need.
Ordinary pot growing is based on flooding and drought. The flood when water is added provides for the plant and then the drought sucks air back in to the growing medium. I felt this might actually be better being nearer to a natural growing pattern but it isn’t.
Even drip watering into pots doesn’t work as well as watering with a wick. I suppose that is due to the drip being at a constant rate regardless of the moisture requirements which are governed by the amount of foliage on the plant, temperature and levels of sunshine. Wick watering automatically reacts to changes in requirements.
Large wicking beds are popular with permaculture growers in hot countries, making efficient use of scarce water. Not something that we need to worry about so much in the UK where rain seems to be the normal state of affairs.
The wicks, by the way, are just made from capillary matting. When they need replacing for the new season, it’s not expensive to just buy some horticultural capillary matting off Ebay and cut the wicks to size with some heavy scissors.
What is the Salad & Vegetable Planter?
The salad planter is simply a tray of compost that sits above a reservoir and moisture is carried up to the compost using a number of wicks. It’s ideal for use in a greenhouse or on a patio sheltered from wind if using the greenhouse / lid components.
Above the compost tray you can optionally fit a lid to improve the conditions for germination and also sides to make a mini-greenhouse. For growing in cold conditions, this is really useful to extend the growing season. It utilises the same sides and lid as the Vitopod propagators.
Having a greenhouse with a border and a polytunnel, I can’t really justify the expense of buying this kit but I was curious and wanted to test it out.
Setting Up the Salad & Vegetable Planter
Setting up the salad planter is pretty easy and straightforward. It comes with clear instructions and doesn’t take long. Most of the time was spent in adding the compost to the tray whilst making sure the wicks remained upright.
Running and Growing
The one thing I don’t like is adding water and nutrients. There’s a small hole to pour the water in and it’s fiddly and time consuming. Some sort of tube / funnel would make things easier. Measuring how much water is in the reservoir is by means of a wooden dipstick. Not very convenient so I may use a funnel or tube to make it easier.
On the plus side, the greenhouse / lid should give the same benefits as sowing into a seed tray and get things off to a good fast start. I’m confident of getting excellent results from this salad planter.
Available from Harrod Horticultural