Containers with water reservoirs are a valuable innovation. They make watering easier and can give significantly higher yields.
This is wiki post - please add to it share your experience.
You can make your own, there are various ways to do this (some easier than others), look on google. I’ve made a lot myself - and while I’ve had good success with most of them, I have found they can be time consuming to make and harder work to maintain year after year. So, for those of you with less time or inclination to go DIY, buying a well designed model is an option worth considering.
But which are the best for food growing? It depends on what you want to grow and your budget - here are some that are worth looking at, their pros and cons.
- Pros: large volume, over sixty litres (15 gallons), ideal for growing most veg and particularly fruiting veg like tomatoes, chillies, peppers, runner beans and peas. Sturdy and very well made (I have some ten years old that look as good as new). Comes with detachable wheels for easy movement. Reservoir holds 15 litres / 3 gallons - great but only enough to keep full grown tomatoes in water for a day or maybe two in hot weather.
- Cons: Functional looks, not particularly beautiful. Availability in Europe varies (currently hard to find in UK) and price can be expensive. At £35 or £40 or less they represent a good investment.
Pros: huge water reservoir holds 30 litres of water - enough for a week or two. Particularly well suited for tomatoes, chillies and aubergines.
Cons: the four containers that sit on the reservoir are quite small so the system relies on adding fertiliser to the reservoir - it’s almost hydroponic growing. The whole thing is a bit ugly. The wicking material needs changing every year or two. This sounds like a lot of cons but it’s actually a good product if you don’t mind the looks - and particularly if you need a solution to water your plants for a few days while you are away.
Cost: £46 each. They are well made so this is probably a good investment if you want to grow lots of chillies and tomatoes each year. Plus ongoing cost of fertiliser and new wicking mats every year or two.
- A range of planters with reservoirs - the small size is good for herbs that like plenty of water (eg mint, Vietnamese coriander), the larger ones for fruiting veg like tomatoes. The trough is useful for growing salads or herbs on a hot balcony or other sun trap.
- Pros: lower cost than the others, fairly durable, perfectly functional, and the range of sizes is useful.
- Cons: you get what you pay for. Not as durable or as well designed as the Earthbox, and the reservoir is fairly small (but still better than no reservoir). But overall, this is a good planter.
- Cost: most sizes range between £5 and £10.
- Pros: high end designs for spaces where looks matter. Several different models in different sizes, including an upmarket window box, the “Balconera” and a “Cube”.
- Cons: not cheap, but look very well made.
- I should add: I’ve never actually tried one of these so would be interested to learn from anyone who has.
- Elho make a range of planters with reservoirs - but I’ve never tried any so can’t say much more.
- This is a great small company who are one of the few people to make large, raised bed size, containers with water reservoirs. Due the size, the price is more - but a good investment if you have the space and budget.
Supermarkets and discount stores
- Increasingly stock well priced containers with reservoirs. They may not be as well designed (or as long lasting) as some of the above models, but most will do the job ok for less outlay. Well worth trying if you see them.