A little while ago, I was lucky enough to be sent one of the new Self Watering Garden Beds from Hills Industries, the same trustworthy people who have been drying your laundry for the past century or so. I'm a bit fussy about the garden, so I was super happy that trust wasn't an issue.
Mr BC kindly offered to put this baby together while I wielded the camera. It is very easy, just use the tool and screws provided to attach the corner supports to the sides, line up the liner with the drainage hole, then put the edging over the top of the planter to hold the liner in place. Lucky Kora was supervising.
There are some insulate pipes that go in the bottom, and a little hatch thingy to pour the water in. This goes strait down to the water pipes and the water is slowly wicked up through a layer of sand and potting mix, meaning your plants will never go thirsty. This is perfect because the place I had planned to put it was sheltered and any regular pots would need constant watering.
This is the largest size, the other option is about half the size of this. I love the bright yellow, but it also comes in two tasteful tones of beige if you are not so worried about safety. Ha, I joke! This cannot run amok in the traffic, it's only a planter!
The base clicks together easily, and I think is really there to provide some protection for the liner. It's also a great idea to use the base to figure out where you want to put this baby.
Watering hatch, open. Watering hatch, closed. That foam stuff is a filter to stop it filling up with potting mix.
Making sure the water reservoir tube thingys are comfortable.
There is a drainage spigot in case of overflow. Handy!
Ta-da! The finished item. Pretty neat, eh? It looks enormous, but is not the size of a bathtub. I can see that it would be perfect to grow a few lettuces, parsley, cherry tomatoes, some beans, maybe a capsicum and/or chili bush, some chives...salads for a whole summer. But! I had earmarked this for some floral activity.
The Hills Self Watering Garden Bed requires about 140 litres of potting mix on top of 40 kgs of washed sand. (Don't use beach sand, the salt content will not be kind to your garden) We shopped around for the cheapest price and ended up at he local landscapers. What is the difference between the local landscapers and Bunnings? About $35.
After much, much discussion on where to put my new garden bed, we ended up in a different section of the property than what I had planned. It was fun making Mr BC walk around carrying it though. Love you Babe!
Ohhh, use the base to plan where you want it to go! What a great idea!
First up, 40 kgs of sand, to be followed with a 140 litres of potting mix chaser.
Mr BC using an old Jedi Master technique on the soil, and laying on the hands.
Not quite a blessing, more of a threat.
Kora stands guard of this new and important addition to the garden.
She is probably hoping we plant something she can eat.
So yeah, flowers. In the end, after much discussion, we decided to plant strawberries. This spot is so sunny and open, and the pot has plenty of space for strawberries to spread their feet (which they love) and they will get plenty of water (which they also love) thanks to the fantastic self watering system. Strawberry plants have flowers on them, right?
It's recommended to first wet the top of the potting mix completely, then to fill the self watering irrigation section with about 30 litres of water, through the hatch thingy. This very quickly got old using the watering can, though to be fair, you only do this at the beginning. After this it won't need to much topping up.
So we moved on to the hose, which sorted it out in no time. The overflow valve really came in handy! If you did have this inside on the carpet, you would probably want to be a bit more careful than us..the valve has a firm lid on it so it won't leak, and you can place a bowl, watering can or even a tube underneath to catch the water. Obviously you don't need to splash the hose around so much either!
But wait, there's more! The other great thing that the Hills Self Watering Garden Bed has is a two way meter, that tells you if your soil is too wet of too dry! Science, man. I love it!
I think those strawberries are going to be very happy there. My verdict of the Hills Self Watering Garden Bed is a big thumbs up. The bed is substantial enough to really grow something worthwhile, and the self watering technology ensures that your plants won't dehydrate and die, which is a common occurance in our hot summers. It was super easy to put together, and light enough when empty to carry around. The only drawback I can see is if you wanted to move it once it was established - you would have to empty it for sure. I can really see the possibilities of what you could grow...mini orchard, a small corn field, an ornamental hedge, a small English garden, maybe a dwarf olive tree with some rosemary and lavender to sit next to with a glass of wine? That's my kind of gardening!
Would you like a Hills Self Watering Garden bed of your own? Thanks to Hills Industries I have one 120 model to giveaway to one keen gardener! The size is 45cm x 45cm x 121cm, and the colour is your choice of stone, grey or yellow. Please note this competition is only open to Australia. Just leave a comment telling me what you would plant, and the winner will be announced on 26th August!
** The winner is Kimmie! Congratulations, Kimmie, hope this helps you win against the bush turkeys!**
It really is easy to put together, check out this video!
Disclaimer - as mentioned, the Hills Self Watering Garden bed was gifted to me, and as usual all words and enthusiasm are my own. I blame Kora for the lame jokes.