General

Vertical gardening – A proof of concept

On Saturday I finally did my attempt at vertical gardening. It’s been sat in pieces for quite a while because I just couldn’t get the time I needed or had the bits together… Basically I was making excuses that I wasn’t sure exactly what I was supposed to be doing!

My new vertical garden idea. This is a proof of concept only really. It will need tweaking.
Click for a larger image

This is the video I initially saw that gave me the inspiration for this project. This is the video that explains how to construct it. Note that mine differs from it in a couple of small ways but it’s basically the same.

I don’t really have much of a technical head. I can do it but I need a detailed video or someone to actually show me how to do it in minute detail. If I just have flat plans or text I will fail, or more accurately I wont even attempt it because I know I will have issues later on!

But anyway… I woke up fairly early and decided because it was such a nice day and time was ticking for the end of summer, I had no real reason NOT to get it done. I had previously frozen the bottles and drilled the required holes so in all honesty all the actual hard work was done. All I needed to do is to assemble it, fill it with soil and plants (Strawberries in this case) and put it up on the side of the greenhouse.

One of the individual 'pots'.
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The basic principle is actually really simple. It’s just 5 plastic bottles that are linked together at the top and tail and have 2 holes cut in it for access. The bottom half is painted so that it protects the soil from the light. It’s not really required but it does help. The stack of pods is then cable tied, or otherwise secured, to a sturdy vertical strut or hung from a higher point.

In the “bottom” of the now upturned bottle is a squished-in piece of filter medium I use in my pond. This helps to keep a bit of space under the soil so the hole at the bottom doesn’t clog up and allows the water to flow through to the next pod down until it ends up in the catcher at the bottom and none of the pods get water trapped and end up with saturated soil.

The top where the water pours in
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In principle it works… I do have a few issues though. I need some way to attach the dropper at the top to the first pod. At the moment it’s just a bottle with a hole in the top placed on the hole at the top of the pods. I may have to turn it into a full pod on its own and screw it in just like the rest.  I also have a small issue of the water flowing a little too fast. I don’t think I have a drill bit small enough to slow it down so will have to rethink that one. I want it to drip rather than the trickle it’s doing at the mo.

The base that catches the water that slips through.
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The other issue is how to catch the extra water that flows out at the bottom. These kind of projects need a little liquid feed added to the water on a regular basis and there will be a fair bit of this water not absorbed. I’m not one to waste things and so the bottle can’t be attached because then I can use the water to feed something else. I’m thinking I will need a bottle with a larger opening at the top that will fit OVER the bottom hole.

This is a project that will not be completed this year. It’s also possible that I may ditch all of this and reconstruct it again next year knowing all the tricks from this attempt. It’s not much of an issue as nearly all the materials were recycled. But as it stands now it works and that is all that matters.

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