May 31 - earlier this week actually got some burlap, cut to size'ish, and made the grow 'bed' dual root zone. Plopped in a catnip plant (one of those pre-starts from the pet store), so that something easy/resilient and prolific could keep the system running right.
That slightly darker spot in the burlap, near the center, is the water burbling up through the air-lift tube. It doesn't need to 'wick' into much of the burlap, a tiny amount will get where it needs.
Plant plopped in.
Side/tank view of same, the water level is *just* under the netpot. This went down about 1/2-1" fairly quickly (2 days), due water being held in the soil - AND the burlap.
This was the next day, and the burlap is obviously damp. The plant is doing better of course. I did tear off the bottom bound-up layer of roots when I planted. I added some water from my aquarium (goldfish, 30g).
Plus 2 days. I trimmed the burlap, to stem evaporation as the fabric never went 'dry'. Possibly could trim further, but might have dirt-into-grow-media issues then.
Plus 3 days. Added water 'yesterday', to about the initial water level seen in first 'side/tank view' photo. Plant has been spun around a little for light (light is a single CFL).
And here's the side/tank view (same day as previous photo), good spread, and damn it, I need to add water again! Silly plant and/or burlap.
My other issue is the simple feeding-tube-hole. Condensation inside the bucket means food will stick in the tubing - or the side of the bucket. I'll need to use a little scoop/spoon or something perhaps.