Together with my friend Gilbert VAN DAMME (Zaffelare, Belgium) I have set up some successful experiments with vertical gardening in “container towers”.
We are using all kinds of recycled containers, e.g. plastic bottles, pots, buckets. The containers are stacked into “towers”.
Today, I will describe the way how to start a “bottle tower”, illustrating the different steps with some photos:
Step 1 :We leave the lid on bottle
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Step 2 : We cut the bottom part of bottle
Step 3 : Bottom part of the bottle
Step 4 : With a sharp object (here scissors) the wall of bottle No. 1 is perforated at 2-4″ (5-10 cm) from the top of the lid
Step 5 : A second perforation (drainage hole) is made diagonally across the bottle No. 1. Below the 2 holes a small reserve of water is kept in the bottle. Through these drainage holes a possible surplus of water can be evacuated
Step 6 : Bottle No. 1 is filled with potting soil (or a mixture of dirt and manure) up to 1-2″ (2,5-5 cm) of the edge of the bottle
Step 7 : Bottle No. 1 is the bottom bottle of the future tower
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Step 8 : For the next 3 bottles (No. 2, 3 and 4, without the 2 drainage holes) we take the lid off and cut the bottom part
Step 9 : After filling the 3 bottles (No. 2, 3 and 4) with potting soil, they will be put upon the bottom bottle of the tower
Step 10 : A tower of the 4 bottles
Step 11 : The bottle tower is kept upright with a couple of simple wires
Step 12 : We use the top part of a bottle (No. 5, without the lid) as a funnel and push the bottleneck into the soil of the upper bottle No. 4
Step 13 : A bottle No. 6 will be used as a watertank on top of the funnel (Bottle No. 5). Therefore, a small (1 mm) perforation of the lid is made
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Step 14 : Bottle no. 6 is the top bottle, used as a watertank, water running slowly through this small hole
Step 15 : Watertank bottle No. 6 is pushed into bottle No. 5, the funnel
Step 16 : The whole tower is now gradually moistened by pouring water in the top bottle No. 6 with its perforated lid. Water drips into the funnel (Bottle No. 5) and through this it infiltrates into the potting soil of bottles No. 4, 3, 2 and 1, where a possible surplus of water will be evacuated through the 2 drainage holes in the wall
Step 17 : Water runs slowly from the watertank (Bottle No. 6) into the funnel (Bottle No. 5) and from there into the soil of Bottle No. 4
Step 18 : Water running slowly from the watertank (Bottle No. 6) into the funnel (Bottle No. 5)
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Step 19 : With a sharp knife we cut a horizontal slit and two vertical slits in Bottles No. 4, 3, 2 and 1
Step 20 : Thus a small “window” is created in Bottles No. 4, 3, 2 and 1
Step 21 : With a finger one can push a small cavity in the potting soil
Step 22 : The rootball of seedlings or young plants can be planted in the “window” of each bottle
Step 23: Pretty soon new roots will be formed in the humid potting soil and the young plants will start their growth without to be watered regularly, because the complete tower is almost not loosing water (almost no evaporation)
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Step 24 : It takes only a couple of weeks to see all the species of vegetables and herbs, planted in the “bottle windows”, developing into fantastic fresh food, full of vitamins and mineral elements
Step 25: A remarkable kitchen garden is born with minimal means and efforts. It can be set up at any location in rural and urban areas, a very effective tool in the combat of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
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