So, the Austin area has variable rain, sometimes with not enough rain and sometimes with flooding. Also, the time when trees and garden plants could benefit most from water (June through September) due to the increased sun and heat, the little rainfall can be available. In scientific terms, water becomes the limiting factor in the height of the growing season.
Is there anything that can help prevent flooding of plants during heavy rains, but also supply water to plants during droughts? Could this device or system be automatic, rather than relying on gardeners to take time out of their busy schedules to water plants during droughts and cover the soil during heavy rains? Finally, could this device collect and save water during rainy periods for use during dry periods? The answer to all three of these questions is yes - and the device is the Groasis Waterboxx PlantCocoon®, or Waterboxx for short.
The Waterboxx has been used for planting trees for several years in the Austin area by a local community group, but it can also be used for gardening. What is the Waterboxx exactly and how does it work? Well, the Waterboxx is a self-refilling water battery for plants. It is placed around a smaller plant (at least 6 inches tall and with a stalk less than 2 inches in diameter) right after planting. The Waterboxx is then filled with 4 gallons of water. This water slowly trickles out, about 50 mL or 10 teaspoons a day, to the roots of a growing plant, via a small wick. The Waterboxx has a special lotus leaf inspired lid, which allows it to catch dew, transpiration moisture from the plant, as well as rainfall, and store it for later use. The Waterboxx, although 10 inches tall, is filled with less than 4 inches of rain and has enough water stored (with average water outflow of 50 mL/day) for 300 days without any precipitation.
The Waterboxx also prevents plant over-watering by directing heavy rains away from the roots of the plant. Once full, the Waterboxx funnels all excess water off to the side of the plant (10 inches away from the stalk). This channeling away of excess water prevents root washout and also prevents the splitting of tomatoes and melons.
|16 weeks' growth of a tomato plant in Sacramento County California - all with no water after planting.|