This is about how to make a SIP Pollinator Garden. This is a Fiskars brand 26" Veranda (cement color) planter box. Outside dimensions are: 26.26 x 11.69 x 9.84 (inches).
Inside dimensions at bottom of planter: 22.25 l x 7:75 w X 9.0 h.(inches). Other colors available are; Thyme Green, Clay, Pepperstone and Chocolate.
This is no rinky-dink box of the type that are widely available in garden centers and home improvement stores. Most of the window box type planters at retail are undersized for lush flower planting let alone have room for a water and oxygen reservoir system under the plants.
Unfortunately the Fiskars Veranda planters are not available in stores any more as far as I know. The company is based in Finland and has withdrawn from the highly competitive plastic planter business. The Veranda planters are available online (Amazon for example). They are from inventory not new production.
I am going to inquire about the disposition of the molds for the Veranda planters. These planter boxes should make a comeback somehow.
Round Ariana planters by Fiskars are also good for making SIPs. They are still available in most Home Depot and Lowe’s stores. I would call ahead for availability.
I have used the Ariana planters in terra cotta and green colors for many years. They are reasonably priced and have a nice profile. I will post more about them in a future post in this series about SIP pollinator gardens.
There are several Ariana planters in this sub-irrigated patio garden including the tall Dracaena marginata in the middle.
Fabrication of “bubble reservoir” SIP pollinator gardens is very simple. The key is to use recycled or inexpensive store-bought plastic containers as the water and oxygen reservoirs. I use the term "bubble" as a metaphor. Think air bubble or scuba tank.
The space between the bubble reservoirs forms the wick system. I do all the fabrication with a wood burning pen and a portable drill.
There is no need to build DIY SIPs like these with platforms and wicking “cups”. They are basically reverse engineered EarthBoxes and unnecessarily complicated to make. The “bubble” reservoir method works just as well and is much easier to make.
Note: Ignore the undersized overflow drain in the photo. That was a mistake that I fixed. The overflow drain is 3/4" o.d. tubing in the finished planter.
Three ways to make the aeration/drainage holes are a wood burning pen, portable drill or a very sharp awl (for thin plastic only). I use a wood burning pen.
Net pots used in hydroponics would also work and thus avoid the tedious job of making the holes.
The "bubble reservoirs" in this box are rectangular and square as you can see. The larger one in the foreground is a shoe box. The smaller one is a storage box that I had in my collection of containers to make SIPs.
The planter mix surrounding the reservoirs act as a wick system. It is important to firmly tamp it down to initiate good wicking action. The water rises by capillary action and the root system grows down to find it. Roots are smart that way.
This view also shows the fill tube made from a recycled water bottle. I make the hole using the shaft of the hot wood burning pen. I carefully rotate it to enlarge the hole while testing it for the right size using the bottle neck.
The photo below shows the very important overflow drain hole on the end opposite the fill tube. It is made from 3/4" o.d. (5/8" i.d.) vinyl tubing readily available from home improvement stores. I drill the hole with a 3/4" spade bit. It needs to be located at the very top edge of the reservoir.