Thoughts on vertical garden methods wanted

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Thoughts on vertical garden methods wanted

Postby Rich.H » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:03 am

Had a nosey at a few mthods of growing vertically the other day and narrowed down to a likely three that I can do with space and ability I have. Now comes the tricky bit of finding the most efficient.

Firstly is a hydroponic system of pipes, pretty self explanitory in that water is dripped drown from the top and runs down the pipework to be pumped back up to the top. Likely will need to be an a timer for on every 20 minutes or so. The electricity cost is easy to work out along with material costs. But has anyone had any experience of outdoor hydroponics? Just how much faster does your crop really grow? can you even squeeze in additional crops?

Image

Second is a bottle tower garden, a good method of recycling I'll admit and also seems to provide some good returns on square footage. But again just how much crop will be grown in this way? I know I will treble or quaduple what I would have growing in the ground but I'm concerned it may not matchup to a hydropnic method?

Image

Lastly Is a new design I noticed from the states being marketed as a "garden composting tower". The premise being similar to stacked boxes or bottles where you have cut outs all the way up for the plants. However this has a perforated cylinder through the center which is filled with all your kitchen scraps, add in worms which then happily compost this waste into food for your plants in the main tower, at the bottom is a method of catching water run off so it can be recycled. This is perhaps a very good idea I think should be fairly easy to replicate. Anyone have any thoughts on just how effective this would be though in the real world?

http://www.gardentowerproject.com/

So of all these three which would most folk who have had practical experience of one or more say is likely to be the most efficient for a small garden?
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Re: Thoughts on vertical garden methods wanted

Postby niknik » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:29 pm

well the cheapest to set up, has to be the recycled plastic bottles! BUT very ugly.esp with labels still on bottles

the hydroponics, looks nice, but certainly NOT attractive/pretty. Obviously with that, there is quite a lot of cost involved. Even if all parts neeeded are already available, there is the elec cost, which may be negligible ( or not, I have no idea!).

The nicest looking is the tower! :thumbright:

I was going to make myself a tower ( old pvc drainage pipe, cut holes/pockets for strawberries.

Also with a tower type system( dependant on where placed etc) it could potentially be rotated for Min/max sun exposure dependant on plant needs etc, if a variety is planted.


Incidentally, though not totally relevant ( or maybe it is) I understand that hydroponic growing is NOT permitted in (official certified) organic growing. Well not here in Spain, so presumably nowhere in E.U.


well having seen the tower link, am going to have a rethink and see if I can adapt what I have to make it similar, although I suspect taht one would need to be careful about what is put in the composting bit in order to satisfy plant requirements, and not overload them with something potentially damaging
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Re: Thoughts on vertical garden methods wanted

Postby diggernotdreamer » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:19 pm

I bought one of those strawberry towers, which is similar to those pictured. The problem I found was that there was a central perforated tube that you pour water into and cups that you planted the strawberries or whatever into. It did not work well, when you poured water into the central tube, being water it finds the path of least resistance and just came out the bottom, it didn't helpfully spread outwards like they say it does, even if you water it really well and try to keep the capillary action of the soil active, the water still mainly shot out the bottom. I have also seen they keyhole gardens that everyone is raving about and this has some kind of wire tube lined with paper or straw and household waste goes, soil is pulled up around the tube and a raised bed in created around it with stone, the soil is sloped downwards. Having looked at these things I have come to a couple of conclusions, your tube in the middle with waste and worms etc, won't helpfully distribute itself into the bed, the worms won't move out unless it is too hot, too cold or there is no food left and as they don't live in earth like earthworms, they will go away or die. Bit like I could never see the point of digging runner beans trenches and filling them up and the planting something on the top which only puts down a 4" root and gets nowhere near the muck. The water poured into the tube will do the same as my planter unless there was a system of perforated pipes round the top which would filter down and water the roots of the plants, which if they are annual crops will not be deep rooted and therefore need water nearer the surface. Maybe I have been doing it all wrong dunno, but have abandoned the vertical planter, it is sitting miserably outside my tunnel, unloved and unwanted.
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Re: Thoughts on vertical garden methods wanted

Postby Zech » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:57 am

A friend of ours tried a large pipe with holes in (for strawberries, I think) but without the central watering tube. He found that only the plants at the top got watered and no water got down to the ones at the bottom, so evidently there is a need for a central watering tube. It sounds like the key feature it needs is a plug at the bottom, so you can fill up the central tube when you need to water the plants all the way up, then take the plug out when you need to drain off the excess. I guess a tap would be even better, if you could work out how to fit one.
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Re: Thoughts on vertical garden methods wanted

Postby niknik » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:59 am

[quote="diggernotdreamer"] The problem I found was that there was a central perforated tube that you pour water into and cups that you planted the strawberries or whatever into. It did not work well, when you poured water into the central tube, being water it finds the path of least resistance and just came out the bottom, ......[/quote

mm good point . I´ll have to rethink my design!

certainly wont be able to buy one as in linked site ......exhorbitantly expensive :shock:
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Re: Thoughts on vertical garden methods wanted

Postby GeorgeSalt » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:09 am

The hydroponic version doesn't have to be hydroponic.. it could be set-up for regular growing using compost-filled tubes with an automatic watering system. Just make the fall shallower, have the pump irrigate by a drip/soak pipe laid along the pipes and have the excess water draining back into the reservoir.
Curently collecting recipes for The Little Book of Liqueurs..
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