Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grow Cantaloupe and Tomatilloes With Less Water and Less Work

Cantaloupe is one of the great harvests of any raised bed garden.  Unlike Watermelon or pumpkins, it doesn't take up that much room and can be grown on a trellis.  We have grown cantaloupe with varying success over the past few years, but we grew tired of the frequent watering and weeding around the base.  We decided we would try using a device called the Groasis Waterboxx to water the cantaloupe after planting and keep weeds from growing at its base.

A cutaway view of the Groasis Waterboxx.  It channels dew and rainwater using its tan lid, stores this water in the green reservoir, and slowly releases it through the wick to the roots of the growing plant.  
We inserted one extra wick into our Waterboxx, but it still had room for one more plant if that plant wasn't very water intensive.  We received a few tomatillo plants from a friend and decided to plant one next to the Ambrosio Cantaloupe.  Both of these were started inside under lights and transplanted into our raised bed garden on May 28.  The Waterboxx was put in place around them, and was filled with about 4 gallons of water.  We don't expect to need to fill the Waterboxx at all again as it refills itself through natural processes (dew, transpiration, and rain).
The Ambrosia Cantaloupe (left) and Tomatillo (left) on May 28, 2015, the day the Waterboxx was put in place.  

Our work with these plants is largely done except for redirecting them to the string trellis and waiting to harvest.  We placed the string trellis North of the plants to allow the most sunlight to get to the plants around this corner.
The Cantaloupe (still on left) is beginning to grow up the string trellis on this photo from June 18, 2014.  The Tomatillo on the right is now about a foot in height.  The Waterboxx is full even without manual watering due to recent rains.   
We haven't had to manually water the plants once as they get all water needs from the Waterboxx.  We also haven't needed to fill the Waterboxx with any more water.  The Waterboxx also prevents weeds from growing near the plants (we have a squash planted below the Waterboxx and corn to the right in the photo above).

We did add 2 small Jobe's organic fertilizer spikes to the soil around the Waterboxx sheltering the plants on July 1.

We will continue to update this post with pictures of the Waterboxx, including our final product - fresh cantaloupe and tomatillos. We have harvested over 30 tomatillos this year.

We are growing several other plants with the Waterboxx, a complete list is available here.

You can buy the Groasis Waterboxx here.

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