Published on February 6th, 2013 | by Shelley Awad0
Greenhouse Capillary Mats
An easy and efficient method of watering plants in a greenhouse is the greenhouse capillary mat system which is a sponge-like fabric placed under potted plants. The fabric is usually inserted into a low tray which acts as a water reservoir. The capillary mat absorbs water and stays moist until it is needed to nurture the plants. The moisture is sucked up through the drainage holes at the bottom of the plant container and into the soil providing nourishment.
The greenhouse capillary mat system provides an evenly watered method that is consistent throughout the day. When the mat feels dry, the tray needs to be filled and the mat needs to be soaked. The soil in the containers should not be allowed to dry out completely otherwise the plant will not be able to draw out the moisture from the mat.
Using clay containers is a better option when using capillary mats because they are better at absorbing moisture. Plastic containers usually have recessed drainage holes which do not provide direct contact with the mat and it is necessary to add a strip of capillary mat by placing it directly into the drainage hole. This provides a direct link between the soil and the mat enabling it to draw up moisture.
Plants of different sizes and watering requirements can be placed on the same mat as they individually draw up the exact amount of moisture needed to thrive. In the greenhouse, mats minimize evaporation which is much more economical, they help avoid water from spilling on the floor and using them saves time watering plants.
Capillary mats are sold by the meter the same as any other fabric and has a dark side and a light side. Placing the mat with the light side up helps reflect heat and light which in turn aids harvesting. The dark side up attracts and retains heat which is useful during spring and fall.
The mats are easy to cut with scissors and can be shaped to fit any size surface or reservoir tray. This watering system is ideal for greenhouse use considering the added benefits like extra humidity in the atmosphere. This is especially important during the winter months.
Liquid fertilizer can easily be added to the water reservoir providing extra nutrients for growing a healthy plant.