Self Watering, Air Root Pruning Vegetable Garden

General Information

Welcome to my garden. It is gravity fed by a float valve and is constructed from storm water size pvc pipe. All up 42 metres and 6m square. Along the pipe we have drilled 4inch holes (no particular distance apart) in which our net cups in fabric pot bags are placed into to wick up to plants. We use fabric pots so that the roots air prune. If you've not hear of this it is a brilliant way to grow plants. If using plastic pots roots tend to become potbound, with air pruning when the root/tip gets to the fabric it dries out which encourages the root to send out more roots further back, increasing the total root area utilising all the potting media and nutrients, growing to its full potential. It also means you can grow several plants in one bag.
We are trialing flexi washing baskets (pictured below) lined with shadecloth for longevity and ease of cleaning at crops end.
We are quite excited this week as we have finally got water in the dam, replanting has begun at last. We did manage to save our asparagus tubs and our comfrey and even got a choko to sprout.
We live in the sub tropics, on a rocky hill so top soil is scarce. We also don't live permanently at our acreage so needed a system that could look after itself for up to 2 weeks if necessary. I've made a mini system on our suburban block as well, i also have a couple of chooks to give us fresh eggs and hours of entertainment with their antics. We also have a black soldier fly compost bin...but thats another story.
Our system is called a hybrid rain gutter grow system developed by Larry Hall in USA.


Self watering, can be small or large scale or added on to. Pots can be moved if needed to give more sun/shade.

Cons (if any)

Quite laborious in setup getting levels correct.

Latest reviews

Pros: great information
Cons: would love to see more on how the valves are set up
This is very cool! I'd like to set up something sort-of similar indoors for winter gardening here, since my climate is temperate, and we average 20 to 25 degrees F through the coldest winter months. (-7 to -8 ish C) This would supplement my racks with soil trays inside and make it so I could go on vacation without needing to harvest everything and start anew. Instead of self-watering, it would be more of a hydroponic-type setup, but your idea (or stealing of the idea) would be great to keep the water going. Keep it up!

Also am interested in your soldier-fly setup...I have composting worms that I keep in a big bin indoors, but would be interested in an outdoor setup for soldier flies. For my worm-bin, I'm in the middle of harvesting about 50 gallons of castings and spreading on my front lawn as things begin to warm up here in Ohio.

Thanks for sharing!


Great use of containers to allow for portability. I look forward to hearing how the washing baskets work out. I think that is a brilliant idea!
Love the full coverage of cardboard!
i just put dn the same in my beds since its been sunny the last couple days and snow was melted away .
By the time spring actually gets here I hope that it will have started breaking dn.
Laid out "cleaned" cardboard (of tape and heavy fiber) over my beds and covered them with a healthy dose of my
"mulchy compost dirt pile!"

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