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Self-contained Box Gardens: Stacker pots, pole system and part pictures.

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chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
4:51 PM

Post #6391564

This is my first time doing this. I was a little harder than I thought. But solid as a rock when its done.
There are probably others who have tried many ways and now use the best way.

This is what I did...

I was going to use the conduit pipe in the electrical aisle, but the outside of the pipe diameter was 1".
The opening in the stackers are 1 5/16ths.
I thought that the 1" might be too thin.

An ouside diameter of 1 1/4 would be perfect to use!

So I went to the Fence post aisle.
I bought a pipe the exact diameter of the opening.

Image is of my first struggle. There is a slight ridge left in the plastic from when they made the hole.
I put the pipe into 1 stacker and banged it on the ground so the pipe would clean out the hole.
Repeat with each stacker level.

This message was edited Apr 10, 2009 4:21 PM

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chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:01 PM

Post #6391626

These are the parts that I bought at home Depot.

10' 6" galvanized fence rail. 1 5/16ths in diameter. $8.97
rail end cap - $1.39 You dont need this. The pipe is galvanized. I just wanted it.
pole clamp - $1.94 (I dont know what these are really called.)

If you can find a pipe with the ouside diameter of 1 1/4" would be perfect to use!

This message was edited Apr 10, 2009 4:22 PM

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chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:05 PM

Post #6391645

Next step is to cut the pipe.
I cut mine at 7' long. If you have loose soil, you may want it longer so you can put it into the ground deeper.
My thought was 18" in ground.
18" under the bottom pot.
and 4' for the 6 levels of stackers.
On my next ones, I will cut it a few inches longer to the rail cap sticks out the top more.

Markings on pipe at 18", then at 17" because the clamp is the final 1".

This message was edited Apr 10, 2009 1:26 PM

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chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:12 PM

Post #6391683

attach clamp on and tighten.


You would put the pipe in the ground now.

I didnt, because I wanted to see the whole thing come together.
I will post the rest of the pics, but just pretend that I filled each layer with soil first then added each one to the pole.
Hint, Hint. I used vaseline, inside the hole of each level, to help them slide onto the pole.



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chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:15 PM

Post #6391695

They are all done.
Here is where I put them.

I am fortunate enough that have all this Georgia red clay cement (came free with the house).
So when I put this in the ground 18", I would probably need a truck to pull it out.
If you have looser or sandy soil, you may have cut the pipe longer so you can sink more into the ground.

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chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:16 PM

Post #6391703

1

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LynnPhillips
Buckley, WA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:19 PM

Post #6391714

Very nice, Chris. I just picked up my boxes from the PO yesterday. I am now waiting for my coir to get here so I can get them planted. Thank you again for the co op!
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:28 PM

Post #6391752

Thanks, I am so tired now, the thought of taking them apart is killing me. LOL
I think thats going to be tomorrows project. Take apart, fill, plant and put back together.
kraehill
Muscoda, WI
(Zone 4b)

April 10, 2009
5:33 PM

Post #6391766

Question for anybody: How much coir would I have to order to fill the whole stack?

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 10, 2009
5:38 PM

Post #6391789

what do you do if you have rock instead of clay?? LOL
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:40 PM

Post #6391793

BobaBob has said that it takes 1 1/4 blocks (5 kg) of coir to fill the 6 levels.
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
5:43 PM

Post #6391802

Uhhmmm, dig up the rocks and send them to me. I love rocks!


Seriously, I would flatten the end of the pipe that is going into the ground so that it goes past the rock. If you hit one dead on top, pull the pipe and move over a little.
Might work, I dont know how much rock your talking about.
Devota
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

April 10, 2009
6:25 PM

Post #6391934

Chris, what a great demonstration! Yeah, wait til tomorrow. You've done enough today.

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 10, 2009
6:44 PM

Post #6392000

a lot. chuckle, I'll figure something out. I appreciate this thread it really helps.
kraehill
Muscoda, WI
(Zone 4b)

April 10, 2009
8:14 PM

Post #6392352

Thanks Chris, for the answer on the coir and your demo photos. The photos will help hubby who doesn't know it yet, but he's going to help me put these together (grin). I'm off to BocaBob's to get my coir!
KRae
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

April 10, 2009
9:12 PM

Post #6392594

Great job, Chris. I'm looking forward to the many ingeneous ways people will devise to stack their stackers.

Here is a pic of one of my first rigs...a movable platform. The platform holds a 1/2 inch electrical conduit 24 inches long. 3/4 inch conduit cut to the proper length slides down over the 1/2 inch conduit stob and the pots slide down on that. My EZgro pots fit perfectly on 3/4 inch conduit. My pots are 161/2 inches wide and 7 inches deep, just a little smaller than the agrostackers.

One variation of your system that would make it semi-mobile would be to find the size pipe that just fits inside of your 1 and 5/16 pipe. Drive that into the ground to mount your stack on it. Lots of different ways and variables. I saw a picture of someone who sat agrostackers on an old car tire and another stack was set on a metal drum like electrical wire comes on. Lots of ways to skin this cat. :-)

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chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 10, 2009
11:34 PM

Post #6393168

Ahhh, a movable unit. Thanks Jay for the idea. Great option.

There are going to be alot of creative thoughts going into these.

thistle5
Alexandria, VA
(Zone 7b)

April 28, 2009
9:48 PM

Post #6476516

Yay, my stackers are here! I took advantage of the coop that Chris organized (thanks, Chris!) & got 2 stacks (6 each) of the black agro-towers (somewhere I wrote earlier that I was getting EZGro, I mispoke). I am so excited! I just need to pick up pvc pipe or electrical conduit (& clamps) to slide over the 4' pieces of rebar I'm using as the bottom anchor.

What sort of fertilizer will work for these, can I use the 13-13-13 slow release Dynamite I picked up? Should I mix it in w/ the coir or put a teabag in the diffuser pot on top?

I ended up getting the black, just to blend in w/ all my black nursery pots (although the Earthboxes are evergreen), I don't think it will be a problem w/ heating up too much, since I'll really need to keep up w/ watering-these don't have a self-watering reservoir. I may try some of the larger terra-cotta stackers, w/ self-watering later, but for right now, I have my hands full!

I work at a garden center, w/ the recent unusual heatwave, in the 90s, we are watering constantly to maintain all our plants...
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

April 28, 2009
11:58 PM

Post #6477030

Thistle...I have tried the different methods of fertilization you mentioned with my stackers. The simplest and I think the most effective is to use a soluable fertilizer applied along with your water. Boca Bob's type of fertilizer applied exactly like he does is probably ideal. But MG in one of their hose end applicators has worked fine for me too. I run straight water for about 7 days and then hit all the stackers with the MG. Observing your plants will tell you if every 7 days is often enough. Im thinking larger leafy plants may require more frequent hits with the MG. I have been fortunate that I have not over-fertilized things because I have also put controlled release fertilize in the top pot of the stack and then used soluable fertilizer on top of that. It is probably better to stick with water soluable fertilize applied as frequently as your plants need it.

You can also use a weak fertilizer solution on a daily basis, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 strength.

It is best to flush water or water/ferts completely thru the stacks at each watering to disperse the fertilizer equally and also to flush accumulated fertilizer salts out of the stacks. If you are using a weakened solution on a daily basis, it is best to flush the stack thoroughly at least once a week with straight water.

I would recommend 3 stacks of 4 pots each rather than two 6 pot stacks. The bottom pots will require longer to dry out between waterings and the higher the stacks, the more this might become a problem. I havent had any serious problems with this except maybe with strawberries but you should be aware of it. Once the real hot summer weather gets here and your plants get some growth on them, you can easily water more frequently. My spring weather has been really erratic, a few sunshiny hours but mostly overcast, drizzles and some rain. I have been making good use of a moisture meter to determine when to water.
thistle5
Alexandria, VA
(Zone 7b)

April 29, 2009
12:12 AM

Post #6477094

Thanks, Jaywhacker, I'm definitely going to go w/ 3 stacks of 4 agro-towers, over a larger nursery pot. Trust me, after nonstop watering around the nursery for the last few days, I'm beginning to understand the watering needs of containerized plants (& I've worked there for awhile). Between the unexpected heat, this early in the year, & the wind, we are watering constantly. It's supposed to rain tomorrow (please!).

The reason I was thinking about putting the time-release fertilizer in the mix or the top, is because I'm not real organized, I can usually water, but I don't remember to regularly fertilize, it's just whenever I think about it.
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

April 30, 2009
6:59 PM

Post #6484794

I operate on that "not real organized" system myself. :-) It is a good thing plants wont to grow real bad and are real forgiving and survive what I do (or dont do) for them. One nother thing...on the slow release fertilizer. Temperatures have to be up around 70 degrees for it to break down enough to act as fertilizer. I put some in the diffuser pots on top of my stacks about a month ago and due to cooler and wetter and overcast sky's, it doesn't look like it has melted any at all. On the other hand, with the weather you have been having, it would probably become effective immediately. Something to keep in mind.
thistle5
Alexandria, VA
(Zone 7b)

May 4, 2009
5:14 PM

Post #6502780

What can you use to cut the fence post &/or electrical conduit? They won't cut either for me at HD. I got 1.25" PVC, but that turns out to be the inside diameter, so it's too large (at least it was cheap, so no great loss). I want to get these mounted, but keep getting stymied-I may just stack 3 on an overturned nursery pot, w/ 4' rebar in the middle, just so I can get them started...
Qinx
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7a)

May 4, 2009
5:17 PM

Post #6502791

Thistle5,

Use a hacksaw.
thistle5
Alexandria, VA
(Zone 7b)

May 4, 2009
5:33 PM

Post #6502879

Thanks, Qinx-what a rainy spring we're having! After 4 hours out in the drizzle at work this morning, I asked if I could go home-surely only true plant nuts shop in the rain & they can usually find what they're looking for...
Qinx
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7a)

May 4, 2009
5:54 PM

Post #6502983

Ah. Rain. Yes. I spent all day Sunday in the drizzle setting up my stacker and working in the garden. Even made a trip to Lowes in the rain! Now I'm stuck inside at work for the week.

Here's what I've been working on. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/983993/
Devota
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

May 4, 2009
7:14 PM

Post #6503361

Qinx, what a beautiful settup and garden you have! I've been to Fredricksburg often. You live in a wonderful are. Devota
thistle5
Alexandria, VA
(Zone 7b)

May 5, 2009
11:36 AM

Post #6506329

Your garden looks great & thanks for the explanation of how you built the conduit trellis, that's very helpful. 24 asstd squash plants?! I love squash, too, & if you pick them while they're small, you might manage to keep up w/ them. Or just invite us all over for a garden picnic midsummer...
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 5, 2009
12:29 PM

Post #6506483

Wow, Qinx your gardens look wonderful! I have gotten alot of ideas. Thanks!

P.S. I used a regular copper pipe cutter to cut the conduit pipes. Although, Hubby is going to have to change the blade when he wants to use it for copper again. Oops. :-)

Qinx
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7a)

May 5, 2009
12:34 PM

Post #6506501

I'm glad I spurred some ideas! I'd say the blade will need replacing! LOL Steel conduit is a lot stronger than copper and the blade probably is dull now. I had to cut 30 pipes total as I have 15 trellis' up for vining plants. Plus the copper trellis I built for peas and cucumbers.
NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 20, 2011
6:07 AM

Post #8703189

Bumping up this thread to ask how your stacker setups have worked for you. I checked and saw that most of you are still subscribed.

I participated in the 2009 co-op, but believe it or not my stackers have sat in a pile unused since then. The stumbling block has been the pvc pipe. I don't have a hacksaw, and even if we borrowed one my husband has arthritic hands and I am prone to carpal tunnel problems. My husband is on a mission today to find someone who would cut 10' pipes in half for us. Even the local electrical supply house doesn't do it. They said "have your contractor cut it with his hacksaw."

Anyway, do you have any updates about how your stacker systems have worked/held up over these three summers? Does the pipe clamp hold up the weight of the stackers with the wet potting mix?

Thanks in advance.

Edited to add that apparently Mr. Blevins no longer markets the Agro Towers and has invented a new version of his stackers:

http://www.growpots.com/index.html


(The Agro Towers are still sold on another site, however.)


This message was edited Jul 20, 2011 8:14 AM
thistle5
Alexandria, VA
(Zone 7b)

July 20, 2011
2:25 PM

Post #8704336

I never managed to cut my PVC either, ended up w/ 3 stacks of 4 pots, on top of an upended 5-gallon black pot, w/ a piece of rebar in the middle. They are filled w/ coir, need frequent watering, but are sturdy. I now have 2 black lab puppies, & they have destroyed almost everything else in the yard, but the towers stand.
Right now, they hold mostly herbs-Thai basil, cilantro, chives(overwintered), parsley, fennel, pineapple sage-also ipomea & squash. I am still on the fence on coir as a planting medium, despite the fact I use it in my EBs (tomatoes & peppers), & stackers, but I am happy w/ the stackers. Still thinking about hooking up the auto watering...
astcgirl
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

July 21, 2011
10:28 AM

Post #8706194

I have my stacker on the ground, I filled up a huge hole with rocks put the pvc pipe in the middle with rebar through the center of it and then slid the stackers one on top of the other. It's held up pretty well, even though if you push it it leans a little because of the rebar. I had it filled with coir like thiste5 above but had to water it so much that I added potting mix to it. I tried strawberries that didn't ever take off, then beans which also didn't do too well. at the moment it has a bit of everything in it, swiss chard in the top and a couple of beans on the sides. I think if I would have set up the auto watering it would have worked out better.

Note: I do have a smaller stacker planter with 3 high (another brand) and I tried stickless wonder long beans this year which did very well. I think next year I will certainly be doing this in my huge stacker with the same beans.

Here's a pic of the large stacker with odds and ends awaiting a replant

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astcgirl
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

July 21, 2011
10:31 AM

Post #8706211

Here's the smaller one with the Stickless Wonder beans in it. Very tasty if I may say so myself.

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IO1
Waaaay Down South, GA

July 21, 2011
12:35 PM

Post #8706492

I never got mine fixed either and have thought about just selling them. I put them out on my deck for the first time and planted herbs in them, but they just don't fit in my space. The terracotta does look pretty, though.
~Susan
roserairie
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 21, 2011
6:51 PM

Post #8707362

I had trouble getting mine stackers set up. Last year they went unused. This year I used them unstacked to grow herbs and vegetables. They are durable that's for sure. I might try the new version. Looks interesting.
LynnPhillips
Buckley, WA
(Zone 7b)

July 22, 2011
12:31 AM

Post #8707816

I bought some of the stackers in that coop, also. The first year, I used coir only, and planted beans, peas, garlic, etc. I had trouble keeping them watered, so it was a big bust. Last year, I used some of them for wintersowing, and had fair success. I wrapped them with bubble wrap and/or big plastic bags with holes in them.
This year, I moved some of them to other places in the garden, stacked them 3 high, without the pvc pipe, and planted flowers in them. I also mixed the coir with MG potting mix and water crystals. They are getting prettier every day. Even my hubby likes them.
Here are some pictures of them soon after planting. I do not have a current photo.

Thumbnail by LynnPhillips
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LynnPhillips
Buckley, WA
(Zone 7b)

July 22, 2011
12:38 AM

Post #8707821

Here's another stack, just planted last week. I actually planted 4 stacks last week,

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LynnPhillips
Buckley, WA
(Zone 7b)

July 22, 2011
12:40 AM

Post #8707824

Another one planted last week

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NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 22, 2011
3:20 PM

Post #8709188

LynnPhillips, is that a pvc pipe in the center of your stackers? How did you cut it?

Thank you for all your responses. It looks like several of you are putting them to good use.

The reason I ordered these stacks in the first place was that I wanted to grow strawberries out of the reach of slugs (ugh!!!!). I gave up growing them in the ground and definitely wanted to elevate the stackers. I didn't want to put them on an inverted terra cotta pot (after I got a nasty surprise when I once lifted the lid off my birdbath and looked down inside the ceramic base). I am afraid that building them directly on the ground would still provide easy access to the slimy critters. (I have even seen them inside the feeder tube of my EBs.) So "elevated" is my goal. But I don't know how I could even fit a ten foot length of pipe in my car to bring it home for cutting.

I think I read somewhere online that they could be elevated by letting them rest on a length of large diameter (8") flexible pipe, which is easily cut with a saw. You slide the wider pipe over rebar and it acts as a spacer. I would think that several stackers filled with wet mix would be so HEAVY.
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

July 23, 2011
5:55 AM

Post #8710328

Hi Nisi,

I love my stackers and so do the many clients that I have bought them for. They add a great look to different areas of the yard. I have 3 stacks for flowers and 1 for strawberries. I agree that the coir was too hard for me to keep watered, so I use a mix of good garden soil and moisture crystals.

I use a 10 foot length of metal pipe (fencing aisle of home depot). It is about $12.00. I have them cut it to 8 foot. That length is still a little hard for me to get down far enough in my rock hard red clay.

If you stack 6 pots high it ends up being a total of 4 foot high of pots. You could use as little as a 6 foot pipe (so you have 2 foot to bang into the ground), but that would leave it almost sitting on the ground. I think you would be safer using a 7 foot piece of pipe. Home depot will cut it for free and it will be easier to transport home.

Yes, the clamp that holds up the pots holds it even when it is full of wet soil.

Hope that helps,
chris
roserairie
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 23, 2011
8:35 PM

Post #8711617

I love my stackers but couldn't get them to stay straight when I did the pvc pipe. But I know I didn't do it correctly. I was it such a hurry - just threw the pipe in and started stacking. I like they look with the flowers so maybe I'll try that next year only stacking three high. Very pretty. The begonias really stand out in the black.
Rose
'
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

July 23, 2011
10:42 PM

Post #8711821

I have grown begonias in my stackers for about 4 years now and they have proven to be tough enough to withstand my central Texas sunshine. The darker leaved begonias are supposed to withstand direct sun better than those with lighter colored green leaves but I have had good luck with both types. But I have to say that begonias in dappled shade look noticably better than those in direct sunlight.

I have 22 poles of 4 pots each with a grow mix of approximately 50/50 coir/perlite and have never had any trouble keeping them watered adequately with two waterings a day. Occassionaly on extremely hot and windy days I will hit them 3 times a day. Each stack is watered only from the top through a 1/4th inch tube. I have a mechanically adjusted timer that directs water to all stacks. I just crank the timer to a bout 5 minutes but when all stacks start dripping water from the bottom pots, I shut off the main water supply. If some stacks are heavily planted with large leafy plants, like large leafed mustard greens or chard, etc, I make sure those stacks are dripping water before cutting off the water because those stacks definitely need and use more water.

For fertilizing, I use a 32 gallon trash barrel filled with fertilized water that is sucked from the barrel by a siphon jet and mixed with the water going to all stacks. The siphon jet theoretically draws one gallon of fertilizer/water from the barrel for every 16 gallons total water flow. The haphazard way I mix the soluable fertilizer in the barrel results in a weak fertilizer solution going thru each stack each time I water...twice a day. Probably about 1/4 the normal fertilizer mixture...maybe...maybe more or maybe less...kind of...sort of by guess and by gosh where you look at the color of water in the barrel and say I guess by gosh I need to juice up the fertilizer barrel a little bit. Just for good measure, I sometimes add a cup or so of vinegar to try to compensate for my high PH water supply. And I throw some epsom salts in the barrel sometimes too as well as some hydrogen peroxide I happen to have on hand. I cant exactly remember why I do all that but I do remember doing something like that in the past and it seemed to work pretty good. I am kind of like the old herbal doctors who would feed a patient some kind of weed and if it cured the patient it was good medicine and if it killed him, dont use it anymore. So if I come on here complaining about all my stacker plants dying...all 352 of them...you will know that I squirted the wrong thing...or maybe too much of the right thing...in my fertilizer barrel.



This message was edited Jul 23, 2011 11:57 PM
fbded
Huntsville, AL
(Zone 7a)

July 31, 2011
4:02 PM

Post #8728211

I cut mine with a plain old pipe cutter.
I have carpel tunnel syn. but I didn't
have any trouble you just turn it round and round.
Hope this helps. Yes I am talking about pvc
pipe.

Annie

This message was edited Jul 31, 2011 5:05 PM
sassybutterfly8
Powder Springs, GA

September 7, 2011
6:41 PM

Post #8798265

Hi everyone!

I'm new to the forums and I've been browsing thru the discussions for 2 days now...lol

Where do you buy these stacker pots? I saw someone mention a co-op.. is there still one open or was that a one-time deal? Is there a DIY option like for the bucket EB's? I sure could use this idea in my yard to save space!

Thanks in advance for any info!
~Wendy
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

September 9, 2011
11:05 PM

Post #8801730

Here is one source for stacking pots...www.theezgro.com. For another just google "stack-a-pots". A grow mix of 50/50 coir/course perlite works good for me in the stack pots. Actually, a mix of about 75% perlite and 25% coir will work good too. The EZgro company sells a mixture of about 80% perlite and 25% course vermiculite to use in their stacking pots.. I haven't got around to trying tapla's pine bark fines in the stackers yet but I bet it would work good also. The best source for coir in both price and quality I have found is http://www.hydrogarden.com. For more info on my adventures with stacking pots, hit the search button on this forum for posts by "Jaywhacker".

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