Self Watering Planters
I love the idea of self-watering planters. Keeping my planters watered all summer long is the hardest part for me. I am interested to know if self-watering planters are a good idea in Portland because of the rain? And if there are any different care instructions for soil, fertilizing, planting etc? I'm looking for some basic education and guidance in self-watering planters for our climate? Thanks!
Most self-watering planters have an over-flow mechanism to prevent your plants from sitting in water. If they don't, you may still want to use them (say under eaves or a covered porch.) The only time rain would really be an issue is until about June. July, August and the first half of September are quite dry. Other strategies to help with water are using the gel substances that absorb water and then will slowly give it off that is mixed with your potting soil (read the directions because you can use too much.) With self-watering you have a choice of using a liquid fertilizer in the well, or conventionally fertilizing in the soil. As for starting out, I would recommend fertilization via the latter and only add water to the well. Any 'extra' fertilizer will collect in the well so the additional water will only dilute it. Personally, I use fertilizer at about half the rate/strength on the packages. I find that less provides adequate results. Have fun!