Getting to the Root of the Problem

Photo 1: Root Interference with Water Level Controller in Quadgrow Reservoir

In an earlier post,  I described my preparations for the polytunnel ahead of the forthcoming growing season. I went through some maintenance issues with my Quadgrow systems which include the holiday watering kit option. I mentioned that the water level controller (ballcock) in the Quadgrow reservoir can sometimes get clogged up with roots during the growing season (Photo 1).

I regularly check, about twice a week, the reservoir levels to make sure the automatic watering system is working correctly. Today (13/7/23), I found the water level had dropped significantly and the reason ws obvious. This Quadgrow had two of the four 'pots' growing cucumbers - normally I limit each Quadgrow to a single cucumber positioned at the opposite end to the controller because their root system is extremely vigorous.

Sometimes it is possible to cut away the roots around the water level controller and get the water flowing again. However, in this case, the roots had completely clogged the control mechanism so I had to remove the unit from the reservoir in order to clean it up.

Photo 2: Tubing Connecting the Waterbutt and Quadgrow Reservoir

First, switch off the water butt tap, unscrew the knurled nut to disconnect the tubing from the Quadgrow reservoir, and remove the water level controller (Photo 2) to reveal the clogged-up mechanism (Photo 3)

Photo 3: Mechanism clogged up with cucumber roots

Remove the snap lock pin with pliers and extricate the compressed root 'ball' - Photos 4 & 5.

Photo 4: Separated Water Level Controller Parts

Photo 5: Root-free Water Level Controller

Reverse the above steps to put everything back the way it was and this is what you should see and hear!

Video 1: Working Water Level Controller after Clean-up

I recommend trimming the roots back with scissors to delay having to repeat this job in the near future.

Photo 6: Job done



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