We are planning to move from out country home to an apartment. It’s devastating but necessary. We have never lived in an apartment before. Thankfully it is in a small rural town that is nearby. What we will miss the most is our big garden. I will, especially, miss my herb garden. So we are going to have to adapt the best way we can.
The upside to the place where we will be moving is that there is a little community garden nearby. While we might make use of one of the beds for some larger plants such as a tomato and a cucumber. I think I would love to have one of the stackable/tower type gardens to grow my herbs just outside the front door. I had a small one many years ago and if I remember right — I grew some pretty nice strawberries.
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You can grow so much in a very limited space – thus – making it perfect for just about anyone anywhere. I have seen them in use on balcony’s, tiny decks and even indoors near a big, bright sunny window.
There are so many choices. Small to large and every size in between. They have them that use soil and they have those that are hydroponic. I personally like the idea of the ones that have wheels under them, especially if your going to use one of the larger ones.
Check out this video of a great find at the Dollar Store..
The trays might have 3 or 4 pots per tray. Some of those pots are in a more rounded design and others are more square. Some appear to be a bit more roomy while others look to be smaller and tight. We need to take a look at all the varieties to decide what we feel will work best for us.
Some companies claim you can grow tomatoes and other large garden plants in them. I am very skeptical of this and I bet most knowledgeable gardeners would agree. I think they would be ideal for salad greens, herbs and flowers. Anything that does not require a lot of root space.
Decide before you Buy
There are many ready made vertical stackable planters that can be purchased on-line or in any garden center. Or, if your a DIY kind of person you can make your own. However, the ready made containers are probably the easiest thing for most of us.
We need to consider the available space we have. This will be an important guide to the size we might choose. Available sunlight is, of course, another concern. The more open space around the planter, the more light will reach the plants. Even so, the lower plants will probably not get as much sunshine as those above. For this reason we will choose plants that do not require as many hours of light for the lower planting.
How big do we want to go? Most stackable planters have a maximum number of tiers that range from 3 to 10. While we may think we want to go BIG, it might be better to start smaller and work our way up. Starting with two or three trays will give us an idea of how we like these stackables without investing a lot of money. We can always add more trays.
Here is a short strawberry planter video
There are some limitations that come with more height. The average 3 to 5 tray range do not usually require any extra support. But, the taller then get the more unsteady – which leads to some additional support in the form of a center rod to add stability. Sometimes, having two planters with fewer trays might be a better solution than one tall one. Not only that, but the planter becomes heavier with each added tray and can become hard to move around. (just a few things to consider.)
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Watering the vertical planter
Something else to look into when choosing our planter is the watering design. Some have, what they call a “flow through” design. They are watered from the top only. The say that the water will drain down and water all the plants. (I would be checking them regularly to be sure that is happening.)
Others are “self-watering” – they have grid in every pot, preventing the roots to be immersed in water directly, but enabling the soil to be moist for longer period of time without additional watering.
If you decide to go the hydroponics route – that is a totally different thing all together. Also, much more expensive.
I would highly suggest some kind of added material in the bottom of the tray before we add our soil. This will help with drainage. And, if the tray has drain holes – I would want to layer something in there to keep them from plugging up.
A good flower/garden potting mix should work well in these containers. One that is rich in organic matter, drains well and is well aerated. I would mix in a little fertilizer before adding the plants. During the most intense growth season a liquid fertilizer may be the best and easiest choice. One that can be added to the water.
Mulching is another good idea. It can protect the soil while preventing moisture loss.
If you have had experience with any form of these vertical/stackable gardens, I would love to hear about it.