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SWICK Watering Systems: Letting The Plant Water Itself

Radogast

Grow Journal of the Month: April 2017
This is something I've went back and forth with many times in my head and I think I'm just going to plop my seedling directly into my soil and practice careful watering methods. Doesnt transplanting disrupt soil in a no till?
Good point.

I don't really think of it as a no-till until after you have grown the first plant.

In my brain, the first plant grows the soil community around it, then you go no-till to preserve that community.

Starting from scratch, I imagine transplanting builds a stronger community.


- - These are my thoughts, not an authoritative answer, just thoughts.


It's a great question to ask :)
 

Radogast

Grow Journal of the Month: April 2017
That makes sense and has kind of been my thinking as well, transplanting seems to have a lot of benefits if done correctly. Just wasn't sure how to work it in as I havent heard to many opinions on the matter!
I did a water only, almost no-till using Clackamus Coot recipe soil for 4-5 generations of plants. I was in 5 gallon buckets (too small to maintain a soil food web.) I planned to do teas but I never did so eventually depleted the soil. It was my second grow(perpetual) - results were mixed, but still I did get 6.5 oz (183g) out of one girl who refused to go into flower under 12/12 light so got an extra month of intense veg. If I remember correctly, this was 2nd run soil, no rest period between harvest and replanting. old roots left in place. Water only

I call it almost no-till, because I transplanted from 2x2x3" containers (not a recommended size) into used soil.

I think you are in good hands over on bobrown14's thread :)
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
Hey all, I just got done reading this whole thread, and i'm sold on SWICK! Thanks to SweetSue and everyone else that's been chiming in on their experiences.

I'm going to put together a setup in perhaps the next week, I currently only have one girl in a 5 gal felt grow pot by Black Magic. Soil is also black magic (aged bark, coco, bat guano, perlite, peat moss, volcanic ash, worm castings). The soil seems pretty good for a premix and light. I think it will work with this setup. I just watered today after 4 days to dry it out, and noticed that even when taking my time watering, there were still dry pockets around the edges. I dug down and the roots were hardly there so I hand mixed in wet soil to hopefully get the roots wanting to get out to the edges. It was transplanted to the 5 gal from a 1.3 quart pot 12 days ago so perhaps this isn't too insane.

My point is - does the SWICK uniformly water the entire container, or is this still something I should address with my soil? I was trying to get the plant to show signs of under watering but it was looking happy as ever even with a light pot. I'll be traveling for a week around week 7 of flower, so being able to depend on the SWICK will be crucial to my harvest. A bit OT I'm also open to suggestions for a wifi camera for a grow tent in case I see problems and have to pick up the bat phone for help...

pictures are always nice
 
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Radogast

Grow Journal of the Month: April 2017
Swick watering is like bottom watering. Your soil is uniformly moist until it reaches the limit of how high it will climb. With enough pumice or perlite (35-40%) in your soil mix, the water reaches the top of the soil.

I would consider the Zmodo home wifi camera for a single remote (internet) camera.
$40 for 1080p night vision with a two way voice channel so they can hear the sound of your voice when you are away.
Years ago, Zmodo set the standard for easy remote viewing and reliability.

This is for a fixed view camera - someone makes remote controlled swiveling cameras too.
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
Hey all, I just got done reading this whole thread, and i'm sold on SWICK! Thanks to SweetSue and everyone else that's been chiming in on their experiences.

I'm going to put together a setup in perhaps the next week, I currently only have one girl in a 5 gal felt grow pot by Black Magic. Soil is also black magic (aged bark, coco, bat guano, perlite, peat moss, volcanic ash, worm castings). The soil seems pretty good for a premix and light. I think it will work with this setup. I just watered today after 4 days to dry it out, and noticed that even when taking my time watering, there were still dry pockets around the edges. I dug down and the roots were hardly there so I hand mixed in wet soil to hopefully get the roots wanting to get out to the edges. It was transplanted to the 5 gal from a 1.3 quart pot 12 days ago so perhaps this isn't too insane.

My point is - does the SWICK uniformly water the entire container, or is this still something I should address with my soil? I was trying to get the plant to show signs of under watering but it was looking happy as ever even with a light pot. I'll be traveling for a week around week 7 of flower, so being able to depend on the SWICK will be crucial to my harvest. A bit OT I'm also open to suggestions for a wifi camera for a grow tent in case I see problems and have to pick up the bat phone for help...

pictures are always nice
I had great success with uniformity of moisture when I used SWICKs. We’ve had numerous members leave their plants on the perlite when they were traveling. It gets touchier when you do that in late flower, but only if you’re gone for a week or more.

Water before you go and top the SWICK off at the last minute. They should be fine. They’re resilient weeds. :4:
 

milkmann

New Member
What an excellent thread, I registered purely to say thanks for this brilliant method/idea! I have a couple of questions, as I plan to integrate this into my grow.

I am using 1 gallon fabric pots, (small plants, more strain variety, only a very small grow space) starting in solo cups and transplanting around day 10-14, actually transplant day is tomorrow (ish). After top watering for a week or so to establish the plant, I plan to switch to the SWICK. I have a deep grow tray, not entirely sure of the measurements, but I can find out! I use the Autopot method usually, and was going to place the Autopot AquaValve into the corner/the middle of the tray with a cover on, alongside all the perlite for the SWICK with the idea that the valve would encourage a natural wet/dry cycle (especially during veg), only refilling once the tray was dry, and also automating the refilling aspect of things.

1 - Does this sound like it will work, first of all? Any reasons why it wouldn't?
2 - My mix is 55/45 perlite/soil, probably a bit excessive but too late now. I have no perlite or clay pebbles at the bottom of my pot, but I am assuming this isn't needed as it is in the Autopot system? (although remember the 1 gallon pots if that makes a difference!)
3 - Does perlite require re-wetting once it dries or will the wicking via the Valve be sufficient for this?
4 - Would this method mean that any babies not making the cut to big pots from transplant could still have a shot at life in their solo cups? Hand watering solo cups is such a hassle!

Thanks so much everyone!

Edit: I did try and find the answer to this first before posting, after reading every page, but I'm still not 100%. Also, sorry for resurrecting an old thread if it's not meant to be done!
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
What an excellent thread, I registered purely to say thanks for this brilliant method/idea! I have a couple of questions, as I plan to integrate this into my grow.

I am using 1 gallon fabric pots, (small plants, more strain variety, only a very small grow space) starting in solo cups and transplanting around day 10-14, actually transplant day is tomorrow (ish). After top watering for a week or so to establish the plant, I plan to switch to the SWICK. I have a deep grow tray, not entirely sure of the measurements, but I can find out! I use the Autopot method usually, and was going to place the Autopot AquaValve into the corner/the middle of the tray with a cover on, alongside all the perlite for the SWICK with the idea that the valve would encourage a natural wet/dry cycle (especially during veg), only refilling once the tray was dry, and also automating the refilling aspect of things.

1 - Does this sound like it will work, first of all? Any reasons why it wouldn't?
2 - My mix is 55/45 perlite/soil, probably a bit excessive but too late now. I have no perlite or clay pebbles at the bottom of my pot, but I am assuming this isn't needed as it is in the Autopot system? (although remember the 1 gallon pots if that makes a difference!)
3 - Does perlite require re-wetting once it dries or will the wicking via the Valve be sufficient for this?
4 - Would this method mean that any babies not making the cut to big pots from transplant could still have a shot at life in their solo cups? Hand watering solo cups is such a hassle!

Thanks so much everyone!

Edit: I did try and find the answer to this first before posting, after reading every page, but I'm still not 100%. Also, sorry for resurrecting an old thread if it's not meant to be done!
:welcome: milkmann. :5:

Don’t worry about trying to read all that. :laugh2: Someone’s always around to answer a question.

I like your idea about the wet/dry cycle in veg. Please document with pictures if you can so we can see how it works for you.

In my opinion there’s a point in late veg when they’re going to tell you to keep water coming, and you never want it to go dry after the first week in flower.

I’m so glad to meet a new convert to SWICK. I now grow in hempy, which is a passive hydro adaptation of this method, in my mind at least. :laugh2: If I ever switch back to soil all my pots will be on SWICK.

I’m also a fan of small pots. You can increase product and get a delightful variety to the canna pantry. Best of luck. I’ll do my best to check in on you, if a journal pops up. If no journal is planned feel free to drop occasional photos here.
 

milkmann

New Member
:welcome: milkmann. :5:

Don’t worry about trying to read all that. :laugh2: Someone’s always around to answer a question.

I like your idea about the wet/dry cycle in veg. Please document with pictures if you can so we can see how it works for you.

In my opinion there’s a point in late veg when they’re going to tell you to keep water coming, and you never want it to go dry after the first week in flower.

I’m so glad to meet a new convert to SWICK. I now grow in hempy, which is a passive hydro adaptation of this method, in my mind at least. :laugh2: If I ever switch back to soil all my pots will be on SWICK.

I’m also a fan of small pots. You can increase product and get a delightful variety to the canna pantry. Best of luck. I’ll do my best to check in on you, if a journal pops up. If no journal is planned feel free to drop occasional photos here.
Thank you so much Sue. I have no problems documenting in here with photos every so often. I would love to keep a journal, however life gets in the way too often and I end up neglecting it (the journal, not life!)

If I have any more questions, I'll be sure to post them here. Noted about consistent watering from early flowering. I'll be curious to see how my organic soil response to this, as I've always had nice results using a wet/dry from start to finish, which is just simply leaving the AP to do it's thing. Exciting times!
 

greenjean

New Member
Hey milkmann. I think that your ideas are pretty sound and should work. The SWICK autovalve combo should be pretty cool. When I was up and running I used the 3.9gal single tray autopots and have thought about a few variations similar to what you are working on but never got to test any. Before I got the autopots up and running I ran 7gal. smartpots on wash basins filled with perlite. The perlite was clutch when I had to go out of town.

When I thought about combining the two methods my main concern was whether the autovalve's water level would be high enough. The autopot trays aren't that deep and my water levels sit at what.....an inch or so. Maybe you'll probably have to play with the height of the valve and or height of perlite to ensure the wicking action. Also when I swicked I really didn't like the look of the color the perlite turned. I would wrap weed barrier cloth around the bottom of the pot to block the light from the top of the perlite. The only way I could think to upscale this to a larger bed was to maybe cover the bed and cut a hole where the pots would sit. Those are some of the reasons I just stuck with only autopots and didn't incorporate mix the two. But, for your multi strain application I think it's a good idea. I also think it'll let you grow out those solos if they have enough holes for root growth.

Have you seen the new tray systems autopot came out with? You'll get the benefit of the tray plus the additional root growth in the perlite. Which is a plus in some ways but I found untangling perlite from roots, replacing perlite, and cleaning up that mess the biggest downside. The roots will definitely seek out that lower level of the autovalve causing the loss of more perlite.

If I ever get around to testing any of the schemes I've dreamed up I think I'll test out using the autovalve in a tray with the egg crate light panels that a lot of the rockwool folks use. Oh and how are you using the autopot system. My apologies for the length.
 

milkmann

New Member
@greenjean thank you for that detailed response! I have been trialing the system with clay pebbles instead of perlite, due to the above reasons mentioned (algae/water level etc) with the pots resting on the pebbles so they're not sat in water. Seems to be working well so far, but a few days will tell me more once there have been a few fill/dry cycles. IF roots start coming out the bottom I'll get some of their root control sheets to lay under the pebbles.

Will post some pictures later on this week :)
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
@greenjean thank you for that detailed response! I have been trialing the system with clay pebbles instead of perlite, due to the above reasons mentioned (algae/water level etc) with the pots resting on the pebbles so they're not sat in water. Seems to be working well so far, but a few days will tell me more once there have been a few fill/dry cycles. IF roots start coming out the bottom I'll get some of their root control sheets to lay under the pebbles.

Will post some pictures later on this week :)
You will get some hydro roots come through the bottom, but they’re no problem, and knock off essily.

I’ve used weed blocker cloth to great effect to keep the algae buildup under control, and greenjeans’ idea about cutting holes has also worked for others. I stopped worrying about the algae. It doesn’t interfere with anything, and I’m pretty lazy. :laugh2:
 

Bucudinkydow

Well-Known Member
Hello y’all!

I followed this thread when it was current and found the theory intriguing. When I finally decided to give it a go last fall I dropped in and found it long dormant so I moved on.

For kicks and giggles I peeked at it again today and saw it had been resurrected in the past few months. Thanx milkman, greenjean and sweetsue.

In the event that there are still a few swickers out there, I’d like to share some of the trials and tribulations, failures and successes I’ve experienced in this adventure.

My incentive to try this system lyes in the fact that life often demands I be an absentee gardener for as long as three weeks at a time and occasionally even longer.

I’ve been an exclusive user of coco/perlite from my first grow and have become very comfortable with this medium and unwilling to change. The watering/feeding system I used entailed top drip emitters, a pond pump and timer. This system worked well MOST of the time. It seemed failures always occurred while away, unfortunately. Emitters sometimes became clogged and the pond pumps crapped out a couple of times. On another occasion, the timer went wild and stuck in the on position, pumping out all the water and eventually burned up yet another pump. Time for an alternative system!

I’ll be back to share my experiences in adapting this system to suit my lifestyle needs. In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to drop in on my new journal. It’s devoted to finding the parameters of success with the minimum expenditure of funds and time and developing a semi-autonomous grow system. It’s been relatively slow to evolve because life seems to often get in the way but I will do updates regularly.

To be continued........

 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
Hello y’all!

I followed this thread when it was current and found the theory intriguing. When I finally decided to give it a go last fall I dropped in and found it long dormant so I moved on.

For kicks and giggles I peeked at it again today and saw it had been resurrected in the past few months. Thanx milkman, greenjean and sweetsue.

In the event that there are still a few swickers out there, I’d like to share some of the trials and tribulations, failures and successes I’ve experienced in this adventure.

My incentive to try this system lyes in the fact that life often demands I be an absentee gardener for as long as three weeks at a time and occasionally even longer.

I’ve been an exclusive user of coco/perlite from my first grow and have become very comfortable with this medium and unwilling to change. The watering/feeding system I used entailed top drip emitters, a pond pump and timer. This system worked well MOST of the time. It seemed failures always occurred while away, unfortunately. Emitters sometimes became clogged and the pond pumps crapped out a couple of times. On another occasion, the timer went wild and stuck in the on position, pumping out all the water and eventually burned up yet another pump. Time for an alternative system!

I’ll be back to share my experiences in adapting this system to suit my lifestyle needs. In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to drop in on my new journal. It’s devoted to finding the parameters of success with the minimum expenditure of funds and time and developing a semi-autonomous grow system. It’s been relatively slow to evolve because life seems to often get in the way but I will do updates regularly.

To be continued........
Are you using a SWICK system at the moment, or are the failing drippers still in effect? SWICK works wonders for those growing in soil and coco, so I’d give it a go.

@MrGreene, you’re still using SWICK, aren’t you? :4: MrGreene travels a lot with work, and this system saves him every time.

I’ll try to drop by your journal tomorrow, as soon as I get settled from my flight. And best of luck. :5:
 

Bucudinkydow

Well-Known Member
Thanx, Sue. Yes I’m using it presently. This is actually the fourth garden I’ve started with the swick system. Unfortunately, the first two succumbed to initial learning process. I’ll share some details in some upcoming posts. The last one worked out very well and this one is off to a roaring start.
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
Thanx, Sue. Yes I’m using it presently. This is actually the fourth garden I’ve started with the swick system. Unfortunately, the first two succumbed to initial learning process. I’ll share some details in some upcoming posts. The last one worked out very well and this one is off to a roaring start.
Good to hear. :5:
 

greenjean

New Member
Hello y’all!

I followed this thread when it was current and found the theory intriguing. When I finally decided to give it a go last fall I dropped in and found it long dormant so I moved on.

For kicks and giggles I peeked at it again today and saw it had been resurrected in the past few months. Thanx milkman, greenjean and sweetsue.

In the event that there are still a few swickers out there, I’d like to share some of the trials and tribulations, failures and successes I’ve experienced in this adventure.

My incentive to try this system lyes in the fact that life often demands I be an absentee gardener for as long as three weeks at a time and occasionally even longer.

I’ve been an exclusive user of coco/perlite from my first grow and have become very comfortable with this medium and unwilling to change. The watering/feeding system I used entailed top drip emitters, a pond pump and timer. This system worked well MOST of the time. It seemed failures always occurred while away, unfortunately. Emitters sometimes became clogged and the pond pumps crapped out a couple of times. On another occasion, the timer went wild and stuck in the on position, pumping out all the water and eventually burned up yet another pump. Time for an alternative system!

I’ll be back to share my experiences in adapting this system to suit my lifestyle needs. In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to drop in on my new journal. It’s devoted to finding the parameters of success with the minimum expenditure of funds and time and developing a semi-autonomous grow system. It’s been relatively slow to evolve because life seems to often get in the way but I will do updates regularly.

To be continued........
Thanks @Bucudinkydow it's not often I get a mention. Although I still say @SweetSue deserves all the credit for building this monumental thread. I look forward to seeing your progress because I like to see how people vary SWICKs and sub irrigated systems. I was always a fan because it's so easy and it made so much sense when I started off in an apartment. I got to take my work trips and not be afraid about all the moving pieces of other watering systems. Keep it up and keep it green.
 
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