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Many vegetable type plants have been harvested from these stacked containers through an extremely hot summer here in the Texas hill country(the hottest on record). I have enough stacked containers for 356 plant sites and with succession planting and harvesting they are prolific producers. I ran out of time, energy, and desire to continue vegetable gardening in the fall months and just stuck flowers and such in plant sites for now. This photo shows a sweet 100 tomato plant growing from the top of one stack. It was planted in the spring, produced untill the hot summer months and was then cut back to a bare nub. It has grown again to what you see here and is now loaded down with little green cherry tomato,s. What is not shown is two more cherry tomato,s and two bush type "Gardeners Delight" tomato plants growing from the top of other stacks which are starting to produce also. Growing tomato,s from the top of the stacks allows them to just drape downward and no staking or tying is required.
The stack on the right has four tobasco pepper plants growing in the top pot. A relative was helping me plant and she planted the four peppers in that pot after declaring that these pots were just too small to grow stuff in. Go figger. All four plants produced like mad and I am just leaving them there now covered in red peppers for ornamental effect.
Here are some more stacks with bright lights chard in the top pots on the left. They make great ornamental plants with their bright colored stems and large burgandy leaves. There is a purple vinca in the rear top pot on the right and petunias in the right front pots. A two gallon nursery container sitting on the table puts out a mass of purslane flowers every day from about 9am in the morning untill 5pm each evening. Purslane is danged near indestructable, doesn't much care if you water it or not, and just keeps on producing. Since it has just about taken over my garden, Popping up just anywhere it pleases, I quit fighting it and let it grow anywhere it doesnt get in my way. You can break off a piece of that stuff, stuff it in some dirt and bingo, you got another purslane plant. You can break off a piece with a bloom on it, replant it, and the bloom doesn't die. Next summer, I may just let it take over all the stacks. That should be spectacular.
I experimented with one gallon containers hanging at various places on my fence. I built a rack with square holes and just dropped the round pots in the square holes. The square holes are too small for the round pots to fall through so they just hang there. Who says you cant fit a round pot in a square hole!! I also had some small plant stands sized for one gallon pots also and I just screwed the plant stands to the back fence as you can see. During the extremely hot summer, those little pots required watering twice a day and the plants still struggled at times.
Still trying to decorate the fence. In the middle, I hung three 2 gallon pots and planted the purple wandering jew, some petunia's, a spanish flag vine, and a potato vine. To the left is some black eyed susan vines and to the right if some rusty colored shrimp plants growing in containers sitting on a table. The black eyed susan's and the spanish flag would not flower during the hot weather but are coming on strong since it has cooled down some.
This determinate type tomato plant (gardeners delight) has 30 green tomato's on it. Each stack pot is approximately 2 gallon size and many people say they are too small for plants like tomato's but the plants roots can grow down through the drain holes into the next pot down and even on down into the third and fourth pots. That is providing that you maintain all pots completely full of grow mix so the bottom of each pot is touching the grow mix in the pot below it. This doesn't prevent you from growing plants in all the other plant sites on the stack. Each stack of 4 pots has 16 plant sites. The stacks can be planted much heavier than most seed packs recommend. For instance, in a row type garden, it is recommended that you plant one mustard green plant per linear foot. 16 mustard plants would require a row 16 feet long. In a stack of four pots you can plant one mustard plant in each of the 16 sites making that stack equal to the production of a 16 foot long row garden. The good news is that you can easily grow 2 plants per plant site making that one stack the equivalent of a 32 foot garden row. You will notice some begonia flowers on this pole and quite a few green onions. It doesn't matter what you have growing on a pole or how thick it is planted, if you can find a space to make a hole with your finger, you can stick an onion it there.
Three type of flowers I have really learned to appreciate that performed like champs in our hottest summer of record. On the left stack are red and white begonia and a pink purslane. On the right stack top pot is orange and yellow purslane which is beginning to drape down and will eventually cover most of the stack. Vinca is another plant that stays with you during the bad times.
What I am calling purslane is also called portulaca. Swallowtail gardens is a good source for seeds.http://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/annuals/portulaca.html
The first seeds listed are what I am calling purslane. It is a succulent plant with large single flowers. They simply list them as portulaca. Farther down the page is the related form of portulaca and is listed as...Portulaca(moss rose)...and has small rose like flowers.
Purslane is edible. Google it for nutritional infomation.
Thanks Jay, for your great description and pictures of your stack garden.
I have just moved, after 35 years in the same location. I sold all of my stack containers
so I will be using buckets for the same purpose.
I too have found a bounty that can be grown in small containers if cared for properly.
I use a timer and drip all of my small containers so I can be gone and they still thrive.
I spent a little time studying purslane. I will sure include it in my growing here in Western
Washington. I have just moved in with my youngest daughter and grandchildren so will
try to include it with the broccoli they enjoy, these kids are fed broccoli at least 4 times a
week. Purslane will have to be grown as an annual here as it is just a little too cold for
it to survive here in Western Washington over the winter. I read that that is a good thing
as purslane is considered an invasive weed, even though it has great for food and
I will try to include some photos when I get things set up and growing. Actually I am going
to set up an Aquaponic system in a small greenhouse that I was so lucky to have here
on the property. I am looking forward to see what I can grow, using buckets with the
Sorry you had to sell your stackers. They are a very prolific gardening system if managed properly. Good luck with your new experiments with aquaponics and containers. Keep us posted as to results. It is surprising what can be grown in one gallon nursery containers(they are actually only 3 quarts) with the right grow mix and watering and fertilizing regime.
Hi Jerry...Im not as busy as you but still hanging in there. Will celebrate my 80th birthday this May 29. I will try to get some pictures of my newly arranged "dog pen" gardens over on the sunny side of my property and post them tomorrow. My fenced in area is getting a little short of sunshine each year as the trees grow.
I dont know what has happened to Boca Bob and Joy and some of the old timers on this forum. Maybe we can get them stirred up again...How about some pictures of the doing's that you are doing in your part of the hill country.