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Agriculture Hypertufa Pots

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Ganado, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    HOW this project started.
    I have a friend who wants a culinary herb garden in a small apt balcony and CCR's are very strict (please no need to comment on the CCR's, it is what it is and we got a colored concrete/hypertufa approved) since Concrete poters are too heavy we are making pots called Hypertufa basically its

    1 part Portland cement
    1 1/2 parts sphagnum peat moss
    1 1/2 parts perlite
    and looks like a concrete planter or any other shape you want to make it

    I also wanted to make them self watering but I am concerned that the cement will rot out holding water. (I would like to use an inline watering system that you fill the bucket once a week and it waters all the pots, I have this part figured out) FYI I can form the hypertufa around any pot shape but I was trying to avoid having to buy plastic pots and forming the hypertufa around them.

    What I don't have figured out is how to line the pots so the cement doesn't degrade so rapidly from holding water. I could use plastic but with auto watering you need 3 holes, one at waterline level so you don't over fill the water basin, 1 for the incoming water, 1 hole for oxygen/air so the water doesn't go bad.) If I use a heavy plastic then the the holes still get water and I think the cement will go bad quicker.

    any suggestions for keeping the moisture from the hypertufa and still having self watering pots?
  2. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+

    Small pic pipe incert when your making the pot I have seen pots made by soaking fabrics in the cement and placing over a plastic bucket to dry .
    chelloveck, Seepalaces and Ganado like this.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    The "cement" will not degrade. Once cured, it'll last centuries. There could, potentially, be some rot in the coir or moss, but that should be self limiting and not affect anything. Your biggest PIA will be moss.
    kellory, chelloveck and Seepalaces like this.
  4. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @Bishop what is a smal pic pipe incert? are you talking about the inserts used for drip?

    fabric? any kind of fabric?

    @ghrit so you dont think the constant moisture in the basin at the bottom of the planter will be a problem with the cement?
    Seepalaces likes this.
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    No. In reality, it isn't cement, but a form of concrete (which has cement as a component.) It'll last forever, once cured. There are a lot of concrete swimming pools, bridges and docks, locks and dams of concrete that are perpetually soaked in water. Should be fine. In truth, I'd be more worried about root rot in the plants if there is water trapped in the bottom.
  6. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

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  7. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+

    It's pvc pipe not pic pipe phone likes to spell for me and yes any kind of fabrics they take Portland cement and mix in vamiculite for texture soak the fabric in the slurry and find out what shape you want and lay over it some people put a plastic bag over the shape when it drys you can spray paint it the cool ones have a pleats in the fourm
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  8. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    i have to mke a bottom as a water reservoir then the planting area above, I use solo cups slit down the sides and backed with potting soil mix I make to wick the moisture up to the plants. Its alot of work to set up but easy to maintain. I have herbs in a plastic bucket system I have been growing for a couple of years.

    these were kind of interesting for draping I would just need to figure out a reservoir and put in small drip pipe for the holes @Bishop thanks for the heads up on draping those look fun

    @ghrit really appreciate your input on this. I sometimes am blind in odd ways... swimming pools,bridges etc that made me laugh and smack my forehead!

    thanks @Tikka I have bigger pots in mind =)
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  9. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    In the EarthBoxes I use, there is a water reservoir in the bottom, and above that is a shelf with holes. the plant roots grow through the holes and the plant takes the water it needs each day from the reservoir. The reservoir is filled every day or every other day.
    chelloveck likes this.
  10. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    @Ganado An option is to use is cement oxide as a colouring agent to, well, add colour to the product. Also, it may be worth painting/spraying the pot with a sealant to reduce evaporation through the pot. Colours can help create visual features and can be part of the overall design concept where pots are used as horticultural installations.

    http://www.hymix.com.au/Portals/2/Documents/Concrete Colour Range.pdf

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  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I've used colorings in concrete many times, it's very easy, and looks good.
    You can do other visual tricks as well, such as speckles in paint, glitter, flakes, and brush finishes.
    As ghrit said, concrete works fine with water, in fact it will even set up under water, just slower.
    Do a site search for "concrete cloth" they even make inflatable structures of it.
    chelloveck likes this.
  12. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    i just have to keep in mind she will be growing plants for food. Don't want to inadvertently poison a friend =)
  13. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Somehow, I knew you would say that.. As you're making them; you can make them as big as you want. ;)

    The recipe from the link I posted earlier:
    "Measure ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio in proportion to the volume of your container. Combine Portland cement, perlite (or vermiculite), and peat moss in a large tub or container. Mix ingredients well with your hands before adding 1 part water."
    As mentioned, cement is not porous; however perlite or vermiculite and peat moss are porous. If you were making a planter made of cement; I'd advise, same as a terra cotta flower pot leave a hole in the bottom. Water the plants until the water dripping is clear.
    Adding the same amounts of perlite or vermiculite and peat moss to the cement changes matters. My guess is water would be able to wick through 2/3s porous and 1/3 non-porous cement.
  14. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    Why not just spray the outside with that rubber stuff (Flex Seal) they advertise on TV.?
    The outside will be colored and textured, the water stays inside.
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  15. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    One thing to be aware of with these concrete things, if they absorb water at all, they could be subject to freeze cracking. I think, but do not know, that the fibers will help to reduce the effects in much the same way that air entrainment works.
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  16. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Via: How To Clean Terra Cotta Pots

    It's probably a good thing to seal these pots against water absorption, even if freeze fracturing is not an issue. Dissolved salts will tend to accumulate in the absorbent elements of the pot as it dries out, when rehydrated these salts will become dissolved again. long term it may possibly affect the potting soil's ph., as well as damaging the pot.

    Renovating and sealing ceramic and terracotta garden pots - Bulleen Art & Garden


    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
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  17. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Great thread @Ganado I have never heard of these pots and what an interesting idea.
    Ganado likes this.
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