In this Easy2Grow Autopot System Review I’ll show why this is such an excellent way to grow tomatoes and give tips on setting it up for the best results.
I’ve been growing tomatoes using the Autopot system for several seasons and I can say that this method is better than any other soil based system I’ve used – such as grow bags and grow pots. The only growing method that can come close, is the Quadgrow Planter.
Using The Easy2grow AutoPot Kit
If there is one thing that I’ve learned when using watering systems is that every one has its own peculiarities and needs to be understood before the best results can be obtained.
Setting up the AutoPot system is straightforward – just leave a little extra piping just in case you need to move the trays further apart. Work out the lengths needed by placing the trays and water tank in position first. That may seem obvious, but in the heat of the excitement of unpacking, it’s easy to cut the wrong lengths!
Although the copper coated inserts are supposed to prevent roots escaping from the pot and blocking the valves, they aren’t 100% effective. It’s a good idea to inspect the valve compartment regularly – especially later in the season when plants and roots are well advanced. Roots can be trimmed if they stray near the aqua valve.
Surprisingly, even the small 8.5 litre pot is sufficient for a large crop – see below!
Use Perlite In The Mix
Perlite in the mix and especially at the bottom of each pot is essential for best results.
The important thing is to use plenty of perlite or other similar medium especially at the bottom of each pot where there will be the most water saturation.
The wet/dry cycle of the valves combined with using a well aerated medium like perlite is a winning combination.
My experience has been mainly with perlite/potting compost mix, but vermiculite and coco fibre also works very well – on its own or as part of a mix.
The Aqua Valves
Aqua valves generally flood the trays more regularly than smart valves, and so a medium with plenty of aeration is essential. If there is more soil at a higher level in a pot that is OK, but the bottom couple of inches should be at least 50% perlite, otherwise saturated compost/soil will cause problems.
Encouraging Root Growth
Root development – Don’t use the valves until after the first five days or so.
In order to get the roots off to a flying start, one thorough watering is best followed by a period of “drying out” where roots are encouraged to grow in search of water.
Lots of little top-ups in the first few days of being planted will make the roots lazy and will have a negative effect on the vigour of the plant and fruit yield. After several days, the water supply and valves can be connected, and normal valve-watering started.
The Easy2Grow Autopot System is, in my view, one of the best systems available and I’ve had excellent results from it. The only downside is the cost but given that it should last many seasons, it is a solid investment.
Easy2Grow Autopot System Review Rating 4.5 out of 5
N.B. There are two types of Autopot, the Easy2Grow System that uses one tray, one valve and two pots, as above.
Also the Autopot system that has a single tray, and one valve compartment for each pot, not shown. The best value system, which I use, is the Easy2Grow with the two pots per tray. You’ll see the difference at the link above.
See also: Best self watering planter for tomatoes