Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stacking UP!

One of the biggest problems urban farmers come across is the lack of space for growing. There simply isn't enough area to plant and for apartment dwellers this is further complicated by not having any land. This problem can be fixed by being innovative and creative. Plants do not just have to grow in pretty one dimensional horizontal rows. Often, going vertical is the answer.
They can hang, stack, climb. tower, protrude, and spiral just to name a few.
Warmer conditions translates into delectable tasting strawberries, but with our farm already at growing capacity we only had an area of about 4' by 4' to grow them. To combat our space dilemma, we decided to build vertical stacking towers about 5' high. This would expand our number of plants grown from 6 to about 70 in the same amount of space. An added bonus is the actual berries are no longer sitting in the soil leaving them exposed and prone to pill bugs. (There's nothing worse than patiently watching your strawberry grow bright red and plump with sweetness and when the berry is ripe for picking , you turn it over to find out pill bugs were slowly devouring it the whole time!)

It was a fairly simple process of constructing the boxes and stacking the towers. For the individual boxes, we used donated wood and used long screws to reinforce each box. Once the boxes were constructed, we attached window screen and remay cloth to the bottom of each box using staple guns. The reason for the screen and remay is to hold a majority of the soil in place.

Next we cut holes in the screen and remay to aid with the natural process of soil erosion. As the soil breaks down, it will progressively lessen, lowering into each box. As it does we will just add soil to the top box. We also reinforced the towers by driving a metal stake down the middle of them.

The last step was transplanting the strawberries. We started with the bottom box and worked our way up. We put one plant in all four corners and than added another box on top. The soil mixture consisted of compost, peat and some left over top soil from our sweet potato bed. I think the final product looks great and we all had a really good time putting the towers together!
Be creative and have fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment