Here at Avalow, one of our core technologies that creates the most efficient and water-conscious raised beds available is our built-in sub-irrigation reservoirs. If you're not familiar with the magic of watering from below, here's how it works:
Sub-irrigation works through capillary action by allowing water molecules to cling to soil particles and climb through tiny air chambers, rising all the way to the root zone. The water moves through pressure differences between atmospheric (water in the reservoir at the bottom of our beds) and internal plant pressure. When plants dry out, they create a low-pressure zone that pulls the water into the roots from the soil. This allows the plants to drink when they're thirsty and stop when they're done, creating a much more self-sustained garden, and solving the common problems of both over- and under-watering.
With sub-irrigation, you are not required to water every day, only refilling the reservoir when it is used up. This allows much more flexibility versus daily watering with traditional methods. Another benefit is that even though the soil remains moist, the top 1" of soil will dry out. This helps reduce water evaporation and minimizes fungus and mildew-related problems that harm plants.
Now it's time to get your hands dirty and try it out yourself! Following the instructions below, you can create a small-scale sub-irrigation system. Let us know how it goes using the hashtag #Avalowbucketchallenge!
Avalow DIY (Sub-Irrigation) Bucket Challenge
-1 5-gallon bucket
-1 1/2 yard burlap square
-1 2.5-gallon bucket
-gravel or plastic containers (to separate water and soil)
-good quality soil
-the plant of your choice!
1. Cut the bottom out of the smaller bucket. Cut a 3/8" drain hole in the big bucket about 4" high.
2. Pour gravel or insert plastic containers into the big bucket until it reaches just below the drain hole. Insert the smaller bucket and then the burlap as far down as it will go into the bottom (on top of the gravel/containers and into created gaps).
3. Add soil and the plant of your choice.
4. Fill big bucket until water comes out of the drain hole indicating that the reservoir is full.
5. Check water level twice weekly during the warm summer months, and top off when necessary.