I am trying to make a self watering planter, with a reservoir at the bottom. It has 4 polypropylene ropes (0.25 inch) which are supposed to wick water up toward the dirt.
The water is about 1 foot below the dirt, because I'm testing it to see if it'll carry water when the reservoir is low. It's definitely carrying the water up through the air that far.
My problem is that it seems to wick up to the dirt, but once it hits the dirt, the water doesn't go much further up. The area where it touches the dirt is vaguely wet, but that's about it. The rope actually goes to the top of the dirt, but the water stops following it once it hits the dirt. My hope was that the water would follow the rope and moisten the dirt as it goes up.
What can be causing this? Is the dirt sucking up the water faster than the rope can bring it up? Do people normally need to water from the top to jump start the capillary action?