Build a Drip System for Your Roof Garden Succulents Build a Drip System for Your Roof Garden Succulents
It can be a challenge to get water to a rooftop garden, especially if it includes thirsty succulents like aloe or cactus plants. Instead of trying to create a soil-based bed, use a hydroponic drip system to feed your succulent garden. The following steps will show you how to build a simple drip system.
Step 1 - Preparing the Dutch Bucket
To avoid carrying heavy buckets of water up to the roof, create a Dutch pot that will act as the water reservoir. You can go larger than a 5-gallon bucket if you wish. Use the drill with the 1-inch bit to make a hole in the side of the lid. Use the 3-inch bit to drill a hole in the center of the lid.
Fill the bucket 2/3 full with water along with any special nutrients. Place the garden pump inside the bottom of the bucket and thread the power cord through the 1-inch hole in the lid.
Measure out a 1½-foot section of tubing, cut it and attach to the pump. Thread the other end through the 1-inch hole with the power cord. Attach the lid to the bucket.
Step 2 - Creating the Drip System
The drip system works by maintaining a steady pressure while regulating it to avoid blown lines or a reversal in pressure. Attach the end of the tubing you threaded through the bucket to the back-flow preventer.
Measure out and cut a 10-inch long piece of tubing. Attach it to the pressure regulator. Connect the other end of this tube to the drip emitter.
Put the lid on the bucke,t and place the net pot with the seedling in it on top of the lid over the 3-inch hole. Insert the stake and attach the drip emitter to it with a twist tie. Wrap plumber's tape around the tubing and connector of the flow-back preventer.
There are variations to this drip system. This is a single-feed system for a single garden succulent. Adding T-connectors, more tubing and drip emitters will allow you to add 5 or more plants. For more, you may need a larger pump and tubing. The Dutch will also be on the floor and the succulents in a larger tub above it with a tube connecting the 2 for water recycling.
Step 3 - Finishing and Running the System
Plug the pump into the timer, and plug the timer into an outlet. Set the timer so your drip system will disperse water for a certain amount of time, and set a frequency of activation. The pump will disperse water through the tubing and into the pot, which will feed the roots as gravity makes it drip back down into the bucket.
Refill the nutrients every few weeks.