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Capillary mats


I bought some self-watering wall baskets which had the capillary mats with them, no probs.

Then I bought some more self-watering pots, tubs and troughs from Lidl, which didn’t. I wasn’t sure what else could be used – just needed some material that was good at soaking up water, I thought. I’d got rid of all my old towels and bought new ones just a little while ago – sigh, when will I learn to hang on to old stuff “just in case”? (actually, I usually do, that’s why I’ve got no room to turn round!)

I planted my pansies last year into the troughs without using any material; I knew nothing about this sort of thing and thought maybe they were meant not to have any. See how they go, I thought.

But when I did a mass repot, I wanted to have a go at using something as capillary matting – remembered that I had miles too many pillow-cases, too good to throw, not good enough to give to the local charity shop; I hunted a few out and did some experiments.

The proper fleece mats in the wall baskets had tongue-shapes cut out to poke through the plastic and into the reservoir. I found that I couldn’t get the position of these right, and anyway, I couldn’t see how to poke them down even if I had – the slits were tiny.

It wasn’t until I picked up one of these lids and held it up that I saw daylight – literally! Length of black moulded plastic, then suddenly a bit of light. I looked really closely and saw that the legs supporting the lid had slits in the sides to let water in. durr. But tiny slits in black material, when there’s more black material behind it, are hard to see.

I still couldn’t cut the tongue shapes properly, so I thought, does it have to be one continuous piece of material? So long as there’s material drawing water up, and material to carry it along, does it matter if they’re not the same piece?

So I had a go at cutting small pieces to stuff down the legs of the supports, long enough to have some on top, and another piece on top of that, full size of the tub or trough.

It’s handy this way because I waste very little material; if a bit’s too short to be a layer on its own, I can combine it with other odd bits and jigsaw a complete layer.

It should work, she said with her fingers crossed.

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