Vertical gardening is becoming very popular with urban, sub urban and rural gardeners alike. It saves space by growing upwards which keeps plant off the ground and out of reach from a lot of insects that can harm the plants.
You will need:
- An electric drill with a hole cutting bit that will cut a 5 – 7cm hole
- A 2 or 3mm drillbit for the watering pipe
- A length of PVC downpipe 100mm or 150mm diameter. (The length will = the height of the unit)
- End cap for the downpipe
- A narrower diameter (15mm or thereabouts) length of downpipe for watering. Make it about 8 – 10cm longer than the downpipe. If you have a pressurised irrigation system, you can use a length of soak hose instead
- A cork
- A knife
- Duct tape
- A length of geotextile (or hessian would do) for wrapping the watering pipe
- Twine for tying the fabric to the watering tube
- Good fertile soil (test it if you can – strawbs prefer it slightly acidic)
- 1 litre or so of coarse gravel
- Strawberry plants (I used a mixture of different varieties)
- A few companion plants (nasturtiums or marigolds)
- Large tub or box (to stand unit in whilst filling)
- Fixing collar or ties
Step 1: Cutting
Decide on length of unit and cut the tower tube and watering tube accordingly. Don’t forget to make the watering tube 8-10cm longer! I made mine the height of the outside staircase outside as it gets pretty good sun there and the rails give me something to secure the unit to.
Step 2: Drilling the watering tube
Drill vent holes in watering tube. Only drill these in the top 2/3 of the tube as the water will run down to the bottom plants. If you put holes all the way down the upper planter won’t get quite enough water as it will all rush out the lower holes. If you think you will do a good job of capping off the base end of the tube, you can put one small hole at the bottom so it doesn’t go anaerobic in there.
Step 3: Completing the watering tube
Cut the geotextile or hessian to the shape that will cover the holes in the watering pipe. You don’t want roots getting in there and clogging it up.
Step 4: Cutting the holes in the tower
Cut the holes in the tower tube. Remember that one side will face the wall so only put holes on the surfaces that will get sunlight. I made 3 rows of holes and staggered them with holes about 20cm depth apart vertically. Leave the last 20cm intact with no holes. Some of this will be a reservoir of the lower level plants
Step 5: Filling
Place the large container against the wall – a corner is best so the tube is less likely to fall over. Place end cap over the base of the tube. Insert watering tube then fill the bottom 10 cm with coarse gravel.