Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Garden Towers for the Horizontally Challenged

Don't have much room to plant a garden?  Oh yes you do.  If you cant spread out, then go up.   Wish i could apply this to myself.  I've stopped growing up and now sideways is the only way i grow!  I'm growing abundantly! 

Anyway, I'm not sure if its cheating to do a whole post of links but the last thing i want to do is take credit for someone else's work.   It took a while to find all these and Ive stored the information away for future project time.  I hope it gives you some ideas. 

Pretty cool.   Watering is done via the tube in the centre.   This isn't my idea, nor did i build it.  I was researching this whole vertical garden idea and found it very hard to get some DIY designs.  I found this in google images and then followed it to a Facebook page - I think the writer is Eugene?  Here is the link.

Plant Towers  - there are 26 photos giving step by step instructions on how to make the above.  Fabulous idea that came originally from Portugal. That is a piece of 3" perforated pipe that extends halfway down into the tower.

Plant Tower Basics
The Plant Tower is a vertical garden built from four main ingredients. Please know that there is no strict formula or specific materials that you must use to build your tower. I would really encourage everyone to experiment and use what they have available. That being said we build our towers along these lines...

The Exoskeleton/ Frame -
e Fencing - 4' tall and 7' in circumference with a 2" by 4" grid spacing. Nylon Deer/ Bird netting is laid and tied on to fencing, fencing is then wrapped into a cylinder with netting on inside.

Straw Shell- A thin layer of straw between frame and soil.
To contain soil, reduce evaporation, and shelter soil from the elements.

The Soil- We use a medley of good garden soil, mixed with compost, and bark chips that will retain moisture and break down slowly.

The Watering Tube- Roughly 2' of 3" Perforated Drain Pipe aka Perf Pipe. Comes pre-perforated with lots of little slits. The tube extends from the top halfway down into the centre of the tower. This allows water to penetrate deep into the core of the tower without having to flood the top.

Holes are cut in the side of tower and plant starts are transplanted into the side of the tower.

I also saw few ideas on a link provided by Quarter Acre Lifestyle today.  Thanks for the links.   I was fascinated in this beauty and that's what kicked off this moment of mad researching.

Very fancy
The following has me fascinated as I like pumpkins but dont have space to let the vines wander everywhere.  Could i train them up and if so which varieties to do recommend?  Are they butternut? 

Who wouldnt want a crop like this?
 Here's another made from PVC Pipe - with Instructions from FireCGun

Visit Fern on Life of the Balcony to learn how to turn a pallet into a vertical garden.

The absolute pièce de résistance of small space gardening would have to be the wicking bed. 
For this one, i am pleased to refer you to local people in Ballarat  - Urban Food Gardening or Craig Castree in Werribee -   Edible Gardens.   Craig built a great wicking bed at Shoestring Gardening during a community workshop.  I wish i had a photo but it was one i missed.  It looks like this.
There is of course the car tyre stacks and the commercially available grow bags for potatoes.  There are also some pretty fancy plastic towers and ceramic strawberry pots but I'm trying to provide examples of those that can be built for a song with re-purposed materials and very little building skills. 
Hope I've given you ideas or linked you with other sites that can give you inspiration.

Thanks for Living In The Land of Oz.


  1. Some of thse are just plain sexy! I LOVE the vertical pumpkins, squash and tomatoes.
    The only thing to be aware of is that car tyres are full of heavy metals (not sure if they're picked up from the road or in the tyres themselves) which leach out and potatoes are absorbers and will draw in the leaed, cadmium and other nasties so growing spuds in used car tyres is a big no-no (only learned this myself late last year) but you can use them for other plants if you choose. Just make sure they don't absorb heavy metals and I would avoid using them for any form of root crop.

    1. I agree, i just didnt express it so eloquently. Apart from that, i dont like the look of them.

    2. Just in case someone is thinking of using tyres, i covered our camper trailer with a tarpaulin designed for that purpose. Six months later when i went out to have a look the chemicals in the spare tyre had eaten through and there was a big gaping hole. I cant imagine what those same chemicals would do to veggies and then eventually us.

  2. These are great! What a wonderful way to use your space!

  3. I grow my pumpkins over an arch and have had great success this way! I have grown all sorts of varieties and they are so hardy and no matter how big manage to hang on! I have also grown cucumber this way and it was great to be able to find the fruit easily! Next summer I would like to try this with melons as well, but they need support, once the fruit is set place it in a stocking and tie that to the trellis/arch and that should help support the fruit! My arches go from raised bed to raised bed :D

    1. Nat can you send me photo's of your arches. This sounds like the answer to my problem.

  4. Great gardening ideas, I have just been given a large crate its in one of my photos Im thinking about making a wicking bed, I have to read up on making them though

  5. brilliant! thanks for sharing - i especially love the vertical pallet board gardens...

  6. Oooh, there are some fab gardening ideas here. I grow cucumbers up a trellis, and have trained pumpkins up onto a chook shed roof in the past. Traditionally, in England, melons were grown up the insides of glass conservatories, then trained across the glass ceiling for maximum warmth, with the melons themselves suspended in little rope hammocks from hooks in the ceiling. I so want a conservatory!
    Another good idea I have seen, like Nathalie's pumpkin arches, is to erect a tall pyramid of stakes on the edges of two raised beds, so that beans and pumpkins can grow up both sides, and form an archway over the pathway, and free up space in the bed, as you are only using the edges.

  7. I can visualise them on the chook house but I don't have one yet. Maybe end of year. I have dvd's on Victorian Walled Gardening and have seen the glass houses with their little hammocks for melons etc. Goodness, those guys knew how to garden and get the best from every situation. Im going to post on it when I have finished the whole 13 part series.


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