Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Seed Starting Autogarden

Every year I try to step up my game and get a little better at starting seeds.  Last year I bought a small grow light kit for my closet.  This year I bought another one and started two trays in there.  This is a big step up for me, but nothing like the gargantuan leap of the snazzy seed starting autogarden designed by my friend Dr. Duncan Bell, who has his own brilliant blog here.

Knowing of the seed saving and starting mania that I am possessed by this time of year (I collect and buy a LOT of seeds!), Duncan kindly made one level of his autogarden available to me.  I'm doing a small experiment, which I'll talk about in another post, but first I want to tell you how the autogarden works.  The secret is wicks!

Trays are made from downspouts that measure 18" long and 3" wide.  Seven holes are drilled in the bottom of each tray.

The holes are threaded with wicks cut from microfiber dishcloths.

Once filled with soil and seeded, the trays are placed directly on top of another set of wicks that carry water up from a reservoir below.  The reservoir is filled by tubes fed by plastic bottles hung above the trays.

A floating element made from foam and weather stripping controls the flow of water through a hollowed-out disposable pen into the reservoir.

This system of piping, tubes and wicks does a fantastic job keeping the soil in perfectly moist condition.

Now awaiting little leaves!

Other posts about Autogardens.
More From Dr. Duncan Bell
A Self-Watering Autogarden
Dr. Bell's Autogardens Blog


Stacey said...

Good lord woman! How can I get your friend to do this for me! I can't complain, my gardening friend starts all our seeds and I cheer him on. We have started tomatoes, peppers, ground cherries, flowers and I don't know what else.

tut-tut said...

Wowza! This is an amazing jump on growing your own, as it were, and saving money. I hope you continue to update on this system.

JGH said...

Thanks Stacey and Tut- I'm planning another post about it soon. It's amazing how much better the seeds are doing in the autogarden than in my chilly closet.