I made this one last week as an experimental onion growing system.
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
posted 9 months ago
I also grow zucchini and squash in a compost tower made from concrete reinforcing mesh lined with weed mat. It's 6ft across by 5ft high (it's primarily a soil building system) so not exactly a system for an urban patio.
This is a good, relevant question for urban gardeners. I did not know exactly what a "garden tower project" was and had to go search for images. I like the idea a lot, it efficiently allows you to grow some smaller productive plants that you like in a vertical space. What I didn't like so much, however, is the plastic. I don't think the world needs more plastic if it can be avoided for the application, so I was looking for something else, and also something DIY-able as you requested.
I found this DIY tower, for one. The finished product looks like this:
and the price (they list costs of all materials involved) seems to depend on the cost of cedar or another relatively rot-resistant wood in your area.
The website that the project lives on, Remove and Replace, also seems to be pretty interesting for permies!
I wonder about some design improvements too, though they would make it harder to build. If the soil trays were not completely flat, but tilted slightly towards one corner, like the earthen roof of a wofati, the water might have a place to go, so the wood would last longer and have less tendency to rot. And a big aircrete mold for one of these might last forever!
But anyway, maybe the project above is good for a start?
Dave, That design is lovely, though I have 2 reservations: first, is that the garden towers have a central worm composting tube, and the second is that the shallow soil trays (if I understand the photo correctly) will dry out fast. The just means extra fertilizer, and the second may only be an issue in drier climates. Still, something to consider.
One could theoretically design a form for a single tier that stacks. If everything planted in it will grow out or hang down, it doesn't need the successive upper tiers to be smaller.
What about a pagoda shape? Four or five tiers stacked. Or the individual tiers could be quarter-turned, for access and light.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
These types of gardens are more suited to urban areas while hugelkultur are more suited to rural areas. I think this is the case because in urban areas you may have enough space to grow stuff unless you do so vertically yours only options are likely grow trees or to do vertical gardening if trees are not allowed or if trees are not established. In the case of rural areas you don't have this problem because you can take as much space you like even if you have to rent land or lease it or make a work trade where you will improve the owner's property in exchange for being allowed to grow the food there. This is likely most applicable in dry regions where cattle producers have a large amount of land with higher areas and lower areas that will be seasonally productive depending on rainfall. You can likely make a deal to grow in the wettest areas in the lowlands while plowing with a key line plow or setting up swales along the Contours along with Ponds and planting trees on the upper slopes to create silvo pasture or agroforestry systems that will prevent drought in the lower areas for periods of low rainfall
I'm the guy who says "please look up allan savory, early retirement extreme, the wim hof method and permaculture" at any chance I get =P
So I know their website has an interactive planting guide but some of their suggestions have not worked out too well for me in the past. I am thinking of having one of my towers devoted to perennials like strawberries and herbs. Any suggestions on how to arrange this? The other tower I would like to have high yeilding nutrient dense veggies, probably mostly greens and succession planing them as tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins etc never did well in the tower for me. I think I will have 5 too 10 grow bags for these larger plants.
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