Saturday, November 14, 2015

Water Tomatoes Only Once In Central California Drought

How much can a tomato plant grow if watered only once, at planting?  A great deal, if it is planted with the Groasis Waterboxx PlantCocoon®.  Tony Palumbo of Sacramento County, California planted a tomato with the Waterboxx in Folsom in the great drought of 2015.  He provided water for it and the Waterboxx (about 4 gallons) only at planting and then never watered it again.
Week 1 - the tiny tomato is barely visible - but the Waterboxx is designed to allow light to reach it.
The Waterboxx works by collecting occasional rain and more frequent dew, and actually makes condensation more likely as the plastic lid cools down at night.  It doesn't rely on electricity or running water, just nature's genius like the lotus leaf (which inspired the lid).

Week 2 - the tomato plant has more than doubled in size
Because the need for watering is greatly reduced or completely removed with the Waterboxx, the most important input for the plant's growth is now sun.  Central California had that in excess during the summer of 2015, with less than one quarter of one inch of rain during this time.

Week 3 - tomato plant more than doubled in size in one week - with the Waterboxx providing support for the base

The Waterboxx has a four gallon (15 liter)  reservoir, and releases only about 50 mL (10 teaspoons) of water a day through a small wick in the bottom of the reservoir.  This gives approximately 300 days of water to the average plant (although water loving plants may have faster water use).

Week 4 - the first small tomatoes are appearing, very quickly because of the consistent moisture and excellent sun exposure in Central California
It takes only 4 inches of rain total to completely refill the Waterboxx, an amount almost every location in the U.S. gets.  For this reason the Waterboxx was initially used to grow trees - but it works so well for the garden that it is now being used to grow many garden plants.

Week 6 - the single tomato plant already needs three supports because it has grown so large so quickly

The Waterboxx works great for full size tomatoes, but also for Roma and cherry tomatoes (other growers have grown almost 1000 Roma (Juliet) tomatoes and >1500 cherry tomatoes with the Waterboxx).  The Waterboxx can also be used for peppers, melons, eggplant, zucchini, winter squash, and pumpkins.

Week 7 - The first tomatoes are almost ready to harvest
Gardeners can also put more than one vegetable plant per Waterboxx - but this will require extra wicks and some supplemental watering in very dry climates.

Week 16 for Waterboxx planted tomato (left) - 14 produced, 40 tomatoes - left  (traditional with DAILY watering) shows week 13 - 0 produced, 0 tomatoes but some buds
A traditional, non-Waterboxx tomato was planted next to the Waterboxx tomato but three weeks later.  This tomato required watering every single day - but still didn't come close to the Waterboxx tomato in terms of size or fruit produced.

The Waterboxx is transforming gardening in hot climates and during droughts.  You can see more examples of gardening with the Waterboxx - this time in southern California  - here.  You can buy the Waterboxx here or learn more about the Waterboxx here.

16 weeks growth of the Waterboxx tomato plant - all without any water after planting in the Great California Drought - the Waterboxx is truly changing gardening