This was taken from the Emdomonton Journal. Gerald Filipski
Questions and Answers form Gerald Filipski Edmonton Journal
Q: I am a container gardener who lives in a condo. The exposure of my balcony is south so my
containers bake in the summer. The result of this heat is that I have to water the pots two or sometimes three times a day.
I love my plants, but it is becoming a chore having to water so often. Is there anything I can add to the
soil to help hold the moisture in?
A: I understand your frustration. Since getting hooked on containers myself, I've also experienced the
need to water frequently on a daily basis during the hot summer.
I tried a new product last fall that might be the answer to having to water frequently. The product is
called Rechargeable Solid Water. The product is a mesh bag that holds a cross-linked polymer that is non-toxic and biodegradable. The bag with the polymer is placed at the root zone of a plant.
There are three sizes of bags available, but as an example of holding capacity, the large bag weighs 15
grams when dry and can hold 1.2 litres of water. The interesting thing is that, according to the manufacturer, the polymer has a "memory" that allows the bag to be fully rechargeable when it rains or each time you water.
The bags can be used for containers or for such things as starting seedlings and even watering newly
planted trees and shrubs.
According to the manufacturer, once fully charged, the bags can release water for 30 days. This, of
course, depends on weather conditions. When I tried the product in my containers, I was able to go for at least two to three weeks without having to water and my location was a very hot and dry one.
You can add as many bags as you need for the size of the container or plant. For example, you could
put three of the bags that hold 400 millilitres of water around the roots of a plant or use one large bag that holds 1.2 litres of water.
This all depends on the size of the container and/or plant. I used the 400 millilitre bags for my
containers and used the large bags for shrubs and trees. There is also a small bag that holds 40 millilitres of water, which is great for houseplants.
The manufacturer also says that the bags should remain effective for two years.
A bonus with this product is that you can add a liquid fertilizer to the water and it will be absorbed by the polymer and released along with the water to the plants' roots.
Rechargeable Solid Water (RSW) is a neutralized cross-linked co-polymer of partially
In dry form they are a powder of crystalline structure.
Upon contact with water they expand and form a gel-like suspension.
The polymers are essentially insoluble in water.
By placing the charged bag next to the root zone of a plant, it releases the water to
meet the growth needs of the plant.
The large size bag prior to use weighs 15 grams and when charged holds 1.2 Litres or
1 kilo of solid water, which equates to 98% water.
The regular size bag weighs around 6 grams and when charged holds around 300ml of solid water, which equates to 98% water.
The Mini size bag weighs around 1 gram and when charged holds around 40mls of
solid water, which equates to 98% water.
There are other water saving products on the market but rechargeable solid water is
unique because the polymers have a memory that allows the bag to be fully rechargeable by either applying water or rain.
Recharging should occur between 20-30 days to maximize its use and the life of the
Many tests have shown that rechargeable solid water can make nursery-grown plants
in the dry, live 30 days or more without a drop of water.
A soluble plant additive (liquid fertilizer) can be added to the water and the bag will
absorb and slowly release into the root zone of the plant.
The bag when fully charged needs to be fully covered with soil or mulch. It is
biodegradable and will break down if exposed to direct sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Rechargeable Solid Water (RSW)?
RSW is an innovative and convenient watering solution, which helps save precious water delivered to plants in garden bed and pots
What is in a RSW bag?
RSW is cross-linked polymer in a woven bag, with a small amount of clay as an activator.
Is RSW Environmentally Safe?
Yes. RSW is biodegradable and non-toxic.
What should I do first? How do I charge a RSW bag?
Simply place the bag into water for a minimum of 5-10 minutes.
Dig a hole next to the root zone of your plant, deep enough to insert the entire bag underground. Place the bag on a 45-
Can RSW be used with tank water?
Yes. RSW is an ideal watering solution for gardeners in areas facing severe water restrictions.
How do I recharge my RSW bag? Do I need to dig up my RSW bag to recharge?
No, just leave the RSW bag buried. RSW will recharge by adding more water to the area or in the event of rain.
How long will RSW release water to my plant?
A RSW bag gradually releases water for up to 30 days depending on soil types and climate conditions.
Can I place a RSW bag on top of the soil? Are there any precautions that I need to know?
The correct place for RSW is under the soil and covered. Exposure to direct sunlight will quickly destroy the crystals,
How often should I recharge my RSW bag?
Recharging should occur between 20 to 30 days depending on soil and climate conditions.
How many RSW bags should I use?
Depending on the watering needs you can use one or more bags per plant. Place them evenly around the root zone. RSW
How long will a RSW bag work once buried?
Testing has shown RSW bags last for up to 2 years. This will vary depending on soil types and conditions.
How is RSW different from standard water crystals?
RSW provides a more flexible and measured application of water than standard water crystals. RSW bags can be added or transferred
Who developed RSW?
RSW was developed for humanitarian reasons, to address the needs of subsistence farmers in Northern Asia, who have
been in severe drought for over 10 years. RSW has been packaged and marketed internationally by an Australian
company, to provide environmental solutions in these times of climate change and global warming.