Last weekend was warm enough to leave the roof door open so I ran the hose from the bathroom and used the rest of the new soil to fill my 2 largest self watering containers, the 26 and 22 gallon totes. Before the new soil was added the containers had to be cleaned and disinfected since I did not want to pass on any lingering disease from last year's tomato plant to this year's plant.
The containers were cleaned with dish soap and vinegar. Vinegar for disinfecting and dish soap for suds so I could to be sure about complete coverage. Besides, cleaning with suds is much more satisfying than swishing around clear liquid.
While the containers were drying in the sun I replaced the soil cups on the water reservoirs. The old ones looked like they were about to split open.
Since the containers were completely disassembled I took the opportunity to line the inside of the totes with aluminum foil, shiny side facing out. This will help keep the soil and water cool when the summer heat arrives. It will also prevent algae from growing in the water reservoir and along the inside of the totes, a nice bonus.
One of the Garden Patch GrowBoxes has cracks in the 2 front corners of the water reservoir. The top edges of the water reservoir help support the weight of the soil chamber. Now that there are cracks in both corners the front edge of the reservoir is no longer supporting the weight of soil chamber.
As a result, the soil chamber is sagging into the reservoir. Soil sits in water when the reservoir is full, which is not a healthy growing environment. I need to lift the soil chamber out of the water reservoir and shift the weight off the corners so that the cracks don't become worse over time.
I taped the corners back up with duct tape and added bamboo support sticks inside the water reservoir to prop up the soil chamber.
A closer look. You can see the original paint line from when I spray painted the containers white. It looks like the soil chamber slipped at least half an inch into the water reservoir.
I refilled the GrowBox with wet soil to see if the bamboo sticks can hold the weight and so far they seem to be working. Can they take the additional weight of a mature tomato plant? I'll find out in a few months.
Seedlings getting some outdoor time.
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