Maneatingmoo had asked me a question about automating a mini-bog`s watering system and this is what i have come up with and i thought this would make a good thread to get people`s minds going about D-I-Ying.
One could put a timer and have it control the cycle of a water pump to go on for a certain amount of time at a certain frequency, depending on how much it needs to be watered. I`d try to make it as waterproof as possible, to avoid malfunctions and to avoid drying out your plants if it fails. My timer has pins that you plug into the time of day (at 15 minute increments) so I can have it on for 15-30-45 minutes on a 24 hours period. If you do this, do it without plants at first for a week and test how much or little you need to have the pump running for. This setup should cost between 40-50$; timer: 10-15$, water pump: i d k, depends how much water you want to pump. some are quite pricey here.
What i want to accomplish is as follows: my mini-bog is separated by a divider (plexi-glass or plastic). On one side I have my plants, the other is empty aside from the level of water that is in the bottom of the bog, water can get through the divider but not peat or sphagnum(mesh covering hole of divider. I would put a toilet bowl floater in line with a valve controlling a water hose. When the level goes down, the bob on the floater will descend and open the valve, which will send more water to replace the missing water from a reservoir you place above the mini-bog`s water line (gravity will send the water from point A to point B). when the water line goes back up, the floater will close the valve and you`ll always have the right water level required, based on where you place the floater, and your needs. This setup requires having a slightly deeper mini-bog, but takes ALL the work out of watering your plants. All you have to do is fill it when it is empty.
This setup costs a lot less than the 1st one, it is mechanical, has no electronics and it`s a do it yourself-er so experiment with it if you can! I don`t know how pretty this could be, and the better we can hide any eye-sores, the more people will appreciate the plants.
I`d love to hear your thought about this and if anyone has any similar experience with something like this.