Crafty Mister II (or how to… build a plant tower)
My Mister and I came up with an idea to maximize our small gardening space we share with neighbors in our apartment building in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village: We’d grow goodies along the Y-plane, utilizing endless airspace overhead.
But instead of buying these fancy Y-plane kits (expensive), or building raised beds from scratch (too cumbersome and permanent), we’d make some plant towers ourselves using the giant plastic pots we already have, and some basic plumbing pipes and flanges.
See what you think.
Then try it yourself. Check out your pots. Terra cotta with a giant hole are all ready. Plastic pots usually need drilling. We used 4 pots each, a 1/2-inch by 60-inch length of metal pipe (Home Depot), a 1/2 flange (ditto, in the plumbing aisle).
The bottom pot has to be the biggest, then 2 medium and a small one, or three medium ones. Make sure with terra cotta that the pole will fit through the drainage holes.
plastic tower on left; terra cotta on right
So you put the flange, flat side down, under the bottom pot, drilling a hole in plastic if necessary. If you drill, you need the kind of bit that bores a big hole.
start the hole gently, then increase it
Screw the pipe into the flange.
screw the pipe all the way into the flange
Weight the bottom pot with bricks or rocks or something heavy that doesn’t take up all the pot space.
use bricks or rocks to weight the bottom of the tower
Fill with dirt, tamp down really well, and add more dirt if necessary. This is your foundation for the tower.
tamp the dirt down really well so your foundation is solid
Thread a medium pot onto the pipe, and tilt it as far to one side as you can. Fill it with dirt, tamp, etc. Thread another pot, tilt it to the other side as far as you can, fill with dirt. Repeat until you’re out of pots or out of room.
finished plastic tower to be planted with tomatoes and peppers
It’s five if you count the wooden tower I experimented with for little herbs — nothing anchoring the wooden dowel in the center except for dirt.
anchor the wooden dowel as best you can
thread pots one at a time, tilting them as far as they’ll go
Cross your fingers…