If you’ve ever thought about how you can make growing easier (and we’re sure you have), then maybe it’s time you automated your watering schedule with a Wilma.
This blog intends to give you as much information on the growing process in a Wilma dripper system as possible, so you can decide whether it’s right for you.
How does a Wilma dripper system work?
Very simply. You plant up the pots and fill the system’s reservoir with nutrient solution. Insert the drippers into the pots and set the timer. The timer controls when the water pump is activated, which is when the nutrient solution is dripped into the tops of the pots. Any excess solution drains back into the reservoir and drips into the pots again at the next feed.
How big is a Wilma?
- As small as 60 x 60cm or as big as 190 x 90cm
- Available with 4 pots right up to 20 pots
- Choose 6L, 11L, 18L or 25L pots
A little bit of history
According to Wikipedia, (let’s face it when is that site ever wrong) the Chinese were using drip irrigation as early as the first century BCE. We doubt though that their methods were anywhere near as effective as our very own Wilma dripper system. After all, how did they time their feeds?
Now drip irrigation may have been used for a while, but don’t confuse Wilma dripper systems with being old-fashioned. They’re far from it.
Over the years Wilma has had a couple of face-lifts, not only making her better looking but much more effective.
Drainage is excellent which means there are no soggy roots. The pot spacing gives plants plenty of space between each other. The top trays allow growers to use different sized pots on the same system. Growers can start plants in 11L pots and can switch to 18L pots.
I bet the ancient Chinese didn’t think of that!
Soil / Coco / mixed media – take your pick
You may have a growing media that you’re particularly fond of using, the good news is that you can use whatever you like in a Wilma. In fact we’d encourage you to trial different media to see how each affects the quality of your crop.
So if you love soil or coco – you can stick to that. If you want to really optimize the growth you can move towards clay pebbles which provide a more oxygen-rich root zone, which drives faster and healthier growth. If you want to benefit from the oxygen benefits of pebbles and the buffering benefits of soil or coco opt for a mix such as 60/40.
Timing – How many feeds
The Wilma drips nutrient solution into the pots at the set times – so you need to set the timer. This table offers guidance as to the times you’ll need to stick to in order to get the most from your plants.
|Coco / Soil||60/40||Clay Pebbles|
|Start||1 x 15 mins per day||2 x 15 mins per day||2 x 15 mins per day|
|Veg||2 or 3 x 15 mins per day||3 x 15 mins per day||3 or 4 x 15 mins per day|
|Flower||3 to 5 x 15 mins per day||4 or 5 x 15 mins per day||4 to 6 x 15 mins per day|
You’ll never want to feed your plants for more than 15 minutes each hour. And remember these times are just a guide. You’ll be able to tell if your plants need additional feeds, by the colour and health of the leaves. If they are slightly droopy or yellow, it may be time to increase the number of feeds in a day.
What time to feed?
Ideally provide a 15 minute feed within the first hour of the lights coming on, or the sun coming up. Also one 15 minute feed within an hour of the lights turning off, or the sun going down.
If you’ve ever seen a Wilma at your local hydroponic shop, then you may have noticed that there are 2 different colour dripper stakes that can be used with the systems. If you’ve ever wondered what they are then let us enlighten you.
The blue dripper stakes are known as ‘Flood’ drippers and are suitable for use with clay pebbles as they have a faster release. It is the free draining nature of pebbles, which makes this necessary as they do not hold moisture in the same way as other media.
The black drippers are known as ‘Arrow’ drippers and provide a slower drip, and are used with Soil, Coco or 60/40 media.
What’s the cost?
The price of using the largest Wilma for 4 feeds per day is just 18p per day! In our opinion 18p doesn’t seem a lot to make sure that your plants get the nourishment they need, when they need it.
As with any hydroponic system you can expect a larger crop, but done correctly an increase in yield of 2-3 times is easily achievable, especially when comparing with hand watering.
The reason for this is that you can feed your plants when they need it, rather than when you are able too, making them more productive.