Perhaps you have seen a tank on wheels similar to this one in a garden center, office or indoor garden. It is called a water machine and they are very common in the interior plantscapng business. Perhaps more visible to consumers are the water machines used in Home Depot, Lowe's and independent garden centers.
The entry level price for professional water machines is about $1,000. Obviously not a retail consumer product unless you are a 1 percenter and if so you probably have a gardener.
In addition to the sub-irrigated balcony pollinator demonstration garden I am also creating a new urban greenscaping lab studio complete with rolling rack light gardens.
I have been experimenting and researching better ways to grow both decorative and edible plants using indoor light gardens for about 18 years now. They have provided a wealth of open source information about sub-irrigated planters, methods and tools. For example, replenishing the water in sub-irrigated planter reservoirs saves a lot of time and water as compared to watering the same number of plants in traditional drain hole planters but it's still a physical chore.
Lugging water around in utility trays holding 8 recycled plastic milk bottles is physically demanding. Each tray of 8 plastic half-gallon containers weighs over 66 lbs. Remember the old water weight phrase..."A pint's a pound the world around?" My back remembers it.
It is long overdue that I find a better way to haul water. Here it is via a couple of products from Amazon. Incidentally I do not get any money from Amazon links. There is no revenue generated by this blog or the plant research lab.
As you can readily see this is a Hydroller portable water tank from Amazon via Reliance Products ($25.97). Its primary use is by campers. The battery operated (2 AA) pump sticking out of the tank is also from Amazon by way of TeraPump.($19.99).
To extend the length of the hose just add a length of 3/4" o.d, 5/8" i.d. vinyl tubing. It fits perfectly on the pump hose. Remember that this machine is powered by 2 AA batteries. There is not enough power in the pump to move water from the tank to high places. It is perfect for normal use around waist to chest hight.
So, the total price for this back saving water machine was $45.97 with my Prime Membership. We'll see how the tank and pump hold up over time but so far it has worked like a charm.
Compare this balcony garden with sub-irrigated planters (now supported with a water machine) to "dumb" clay pots dripping water on the neighbors below. This is urban gardening for today rather than horse and buggy days.
This shows the water machine and a light garden just inside the sliding door to the balcony pollinator garden. I staged this photo to show the machine and light garden. It is not the method I use for sub-irrigated indoor planters (SIPs) without overflow drains. The indoor method is based on measuring the soil moisture with a scale. I will show the exact setup in a future post within a week.
What the photo does show is that the new urban greenscaping studio has both a summer and winter garden. The pollinator garden (all annuals) is still going strong but will soon be history after the first frost. Then the winter view will be of a desert garden and coffee plantation. "Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!"