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 Post subject: New Garden Project
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:58 pm
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Location: Upper Swan, WA
Part of my New Year's Resolution includes a more space-efficient, water-wise, low maintenance garden. I have been researching vertical gardens in their various incarnations and decided to go with a variation on the Potato Tower.

I have a space in the south side of the house that I've never really done much with. It gets shade in the morning, dappled sunlight in late morning and early evening and full sun for a few hours in the middle of the day. It is connected to our bore-fed reticulation system (sprinkler system for the Americans) and I've modified it further to add water via a soaker hose around the perimeter and up the centre of each tower.

The towers are constructed of 120cm high towers that use 150 cm long mesh fastened into a circle via the cut end wire being folded back on itself (for easy release at the end of the season) the towers are lined with a thin layer of straw and then alterating layers of mushroom compost and good quality 'vegie mix' from Masters. I have selected 5 varieties of potato (taste tested first) Chat, Nadine, Royal Blue, Ruby Lou, (what I think are Disiree - but they weren't marked), Sweet Gold, and some ginger. I've had good success in the past growing 'cut' potatoes from the supermarket. they tend to be more reasonable in terms of price and variety. (...and I can taste with I'm growing first.)

The top layer of each tower (on the side) uses peat pots planted with vegies - summer squash(s), and cucumber(s). And the very top centre is planted with herbs, tomatoes, and chili. in the first 3 (which are seasonal potato towers) and the last 2 are Berry towers, planted with strawberries (very appropriate I think :D ) and Logan Berries in the centre top - with a trellis on the wall for them to be trained up (to keep them under control) I'm planning on these towers being less seasonal (depending upon performance).

Behind the towers along the window and wall I have placed a trellis for snow peas and beans. the snow peas should be shaded by the tower enough to get a longer season and I will succession plant this area. The beans have a spot that gets more sunlight so as to promote a nice lush cropping. (That's the theory, anyway) I'm putting my Rhubarb (well established) in by the strawberries, and the Asparagus (first season) inbetween one of the cages.

In the front I'll put some herbs (you can never have too many herbs) and in the fall, some broccoli perhaps.

For such a small area it should yield well. The growing surface area of the towers alone is the equivelent of 9 and a bit square metres. The thin layer of straw on the outside is multitasking. [list=]
    It keeps the soil from leaking out of the mesh
    It retains water
    Evaporation for the wet straw helps cool the tower in the summer heat
    It adds organic matter to the soil
[/list]

Handy stuff! (...and it was FREE!)

Around the edges of the area there is probably another 1 - 1.5 metres of growing area. The brick edging makes for a nice loose raised bed which I will top-dress with straw to keep the weeds down.

I have planted out the first tower. The lesson learned here is that the wet straw is heavy and the (1) stake I had to hold it up was not enough. I had to pull it back upright and add a star pole to the mix (driven into the soil bed about 45 cm) and fasteded to the pole with galvanized wire around the girth of the tower and twisted tight to the pole. Seems happy now.

Here are some Pictures of my progress so far:


Attachments:
File comment: Berry Cages and Trellis
berry-cages-and-trellis.jpg
berry-cages-and-trellis.jpg [ 222.01 KiB | Viewed 1781 times ]
File comment: Cages in place
Cages.jpg
Cages.jpg [ 92.44 KiB | Viewed 1781 times ]
File comment: Soaker Hoses added
Soaker-Hoses-in-place.jpg
Soaker-Hoses-in-place.jpg [ 85.79 KiB | Viewed 1781 times ]
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:58 pm
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Location: Upper Swan, WA
More Pics:


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File comment: My home-made soil scoop
Homemade-Soil-Scoop.jpg
Homemade-Soil-Scoop.jpg [ 247.7 KiB | Viewed 1780 times ]
File comment: First layer of tatties
Potatoes-layer1.jpg
Potatoes-layer1.jpg [ 111.74 KiB | Viewed 1780 times ]
File comment: Different types of tubers.
Tubers.jpg
Tubers.jpg [ 129.58 KiB | Viewed 1780 times ]
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:58 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Location: Upper Swan, WA
Still more Pics:


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File comment: squash seeds in the peat pots
Squash-seeds-peatpot.jpg
Squash-seeds-peatpot.jpg [ 72.25 KiB | Viewed 1780 times ]
File comment: Peat pot layer
Peat-Pot-Layer.jpg
Peat-Pot-Layer.jpg [ 210.85 KiB | Viewed 1780 times ]
File comment: Looks a bit like a shaggy beast!
shaggy-beast.jpg
shaggy-beast.jpg [ 253.13 KiB | Viewed 1780 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: New Garden Project
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:49 pm
Posts: 281
Location: perth
Looks like a great idea NannaB, can't wait to see the progress!

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 Post subject: Re: New Garden Project
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:21 pm
Posts: 770
Location: Bullsbrook WA (temperate)
Location: Perth's North eastern hills
Very Cool, will love to see you have success with the ginger as I want to grow it too but thought you would need a green house to increase humidity though winter in Perth, best of luck

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