Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Community Gardening Without Running Water

Community gardens are a wonderful thing - they provide a chance for people who don't have yards or space for their own garden to come together and grow healthy, local, carbon neutral or even carbon negative food.

The biggest problem with community gardening has been the time commitment needed for such a garden.  Many community gardeners, because of work, family, and other obligations, are unable to visit their garden plots during the work week. This means that all weeding and watering needs to be done on the weekend visit.  Many people visit their garden Saturdays to find their plants wilted and plots overgrown with weeds.  This problem is made especially acute with the widespread adoption of raised bed gardens, where the limited depth of the soil allows it to to dry out quickly.

Is there any solution to this problem - a way to both water your community garden plot while away and keep weeds from growing?  Yes, there is.  A Dutch device, called the Groasis Waterboxx PlantCocoon, or Waterboxx can do precisely this - water garden plants without human effort.  It also blocks weed growth for a radius of 10 inches around a garden plant, without any form of herbicide or manual labor, after set up.

The Waterboxx functions by collecting dew, other condensation, and rain water on its lotus leaf inspired lid.  It then funnels this water into a 4 gallon reservoir, which is filled at set up with pure water.  This water is then slowly released to the soil below via one or more small wicks.  Up to three garden plants are planted in a central opening of the Waterboxx, and are cooled during the hot summer months by the water in the reservoir, reducing transpiration and decreasing water need.  Soil moisture is kept from evaporation by the Waterboxx as well.

A cutaway view of the Waterboxx showing function - water is collected by the tan lid, funneled into the reservoir, and slowly released to the soil below by a white wick.  The figure "8" shaped central opening has space for up to three garden plants.
The Waterboxx can be filled only at planting for many plants in many areas, and not need manual refilling at all during an entire growing season.  Four inches of rain is enough to completely refill this device.

Five Waterboxxes can easily fit in a standard 4x4 foot raised bed garden, with some space between the Waterboxxes for supports as well as other plants like beans, peas, or lettuce.

A single 4x4 foot raised bed with 5 Waterboxxes growing 4 peppers, 2 tomatilloes, 2 tomatoes, and several green, purple, and yellow beans.  No water has been added to the Waterboxxes since planting but they are still full.
The Waterboxx can easily be rented to gardeners with a garden plot - especially as they are designed to last 10 years.  At the end of every planting season, the wicks are removed and replaced, and the Waterboxxes are easily stacked for the following planting season.

The Groasis Waterboxx can completely change community gardening.  If you are interested in purchasing a Waterboxx, please visit our website, here.  Find out more about the Waterboxx here.

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