This is an end-of-season update from Larry Hall in Minnesota. It further documents the sub-irrigated micro farm he created with rain gutters. When viewing the video keep in mind that it is a micro farm rather than a decorative back yard garden. His objectives were to grow food in an efficient and productive way while saving time.
The sub-irrigation planter (SIP) system Larry created can be hidden just like the plumbing in your kitchen and bathroom. It wouldn’t take much to build a façade along the length of each rain gutter.
Russ Cheatham created a simple facade when he installed an EarthBox garden on the roof of his Chicago home. This is just one of many ways to conceal the inner sub-irrigation "plumbing". Also have a look at Rebecca's Remedy planter facades.
Systems like these could be the core method for creating community and school gardens in cities across America where land is scarce and often contaminated with toxic heavy metals such as lead and arsenic.
SIPs will also conserve water while out-producing traditional dirt gardening. Growing in SIPs, kids will learn much about about plant science, recycling and conservation than they will by shoveling dirt.
I do not know of even one community garden in New York City that incorporates modern sub-irrigated planter systems in any meaningful way. What a significant commentary on the quality of our horticultural education system.
Ok so you want to build a Rain Gutter Grow System! Here is what you will need!
2 10 ft treated 2x4's 1 10 ft rain gutter and 2 end caps.I prefer the U snap brand http://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/roofing-soffits-gutters/gutter... because you can use standard pvc cement to glue on the ends. You will need 3 inch net cups http://www.hydroponics.net/i/211100 they are cheap! Drill a 2/78 inch hole in your container that you are going to plant in and the 3 inch net cup fits perfectly. Also you'll need some pole barn roofing screws because they have a water tight seal on them. also a mini float valve to regulate water http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=34188&catid=569&cli... I use the one with the male 1/2 inch threads and buy a 1/2 threaded garden hose adapter to connect to it. You also can get the 3/8 barbed version and some 3/8 plastic hose and daisy chain a bunch together.You can use any good potting mix to grow your veggies in Not potting soil! Miracle grow potting mix works great or you can mix your own by using 2/3rds peat moss and 1/3 well rotted manure or compost and a couple of good handfuls of perlite! It lightens the soil. I also add about a cup of garden lime or dolomite, I also throw in a handful of Epsom salts. A standard batch I will make would be 2 5 gallon buckets of peat 1 bucket of compost or well rotted manure 1 cup garden lime and a handful Epsom salts. It has worked great for me Here is a link to the video on how I built the unit! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1kIaJvpdTg Good Luck and let me know how you like the system! If you have any question please message me! Larry