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fintuckyfarms
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strawberry tower

Getting ready to start building my strawberry tower. I am going to use ideas from two different systems that I found on-line. It will be a recirculating drip system with 100 plants in an 8" verticle pvc pipe and will be part of a demonstration exhibt at our local fair. It's suppose to snow tonight so I hope I can finish the system after work and plant tomorrow. I will have to heat the nutes and cover them at night for a week or so, but they need to get planted as they are already starting to green up and grow. Anyway, just wanted to share whats going on in my part of the world.

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rainbowgardener
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Cool! Post some pictures once you get it all together.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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fintuckyfarms
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It's up and running.... in my kitchen :wink: Will try to post some picts soon.

[/img]

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fintuckyfarms
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It's done!!!

[img]https://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh632/fintuckyfarms/Strawberry%20Tower/towers013.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh632/fintuckyfarms/Strawberry%20Tower/towers016.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh632/fintuckyfarms/Strawberry%20Tower/towers002.jpg[/img][/img]

potshot
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strawberry tower

I'm doing this also and I'm having trouble finding a pump that will lift my water that high and a sprinkler that will not clog up. If you have gotten past this please let me know. I have gone back to floating them.

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fintuckyfarms
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I looked for a pump with a 10 foot head. I found a 9.5 max head from Eco plus called a Eco 1056. I have noticed that most pumps over 1100gph have enough head to lift that far. I don't use a sprayer, I just looped a piece of 1/2" tubing and poked holes for it to spray out and connected it with a 1/2" T fitting. About 10 holes that went from side to side so a total of 20 holes I kept the tubing about 2"s from the edge of the pipe and that allows for pretty even coverage from the center out. It just drips out and down and works well.

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brogz
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Looks really cool! What do you have collecting the water at the bottom?
Any way we could get some updated pics?

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fintuckyfarms
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[img]https://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh632/fintuckyfarms/Strawberry%20Tower/towers019.jpg[/img]


I used a 1/2" bulkhead on an end cap with a short piece of tubing slipped into the top of a 1" T fitting. The T is connected to a 1" pipe that goes through 2" holes drilled into coupler that the pipe and end cap sit on. I will use a bigger bulkhead next time. I also have a drain cap that sits on the bulkhead on the inside. It's important tat there be some slope to the pipe twds the reservoir.[/img][img]https://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh632/fintuckyfarms/Strawberry%20Tower/towers005.jpg[/img]

TCHarris32
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I would consider blacking out your reservoir or you are going to e fighting algae problems.
Newbie to gardening. Please pardon the ignorance.

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fintuckyfarms
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It's just temporary, I plan on burying a 55 gal drum next weekend but thanks for the helpful info. I purchased some dark green paint to paint it but there has only been a couple of days that it hasn't rained. I also plan on wrapping the tubing in some foam pipe insulation. There will eventually be 4 tubes there, but I've been sick and only built the one to get the strawberries started.

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Good deal. It is an interesting contraption for sure. I'm executed to see it covered in vines. Are your strawberry plants in starter cubes then tucked into the gravel or are they just directly in the gravel? And did you just use regular gravel?
Newbie to gardening. Please pardon the ignorance.

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brogz
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The only problem I see with the 55 gal drum is that the tube is going to have to be over the water level other wise it will back up the tube and you'll have your water everywhere. It would probable work good if you dug a hole for the drum but that's a lot of work.

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fintuckyfarms
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[img][img]https://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh632/fintuckyfarms/Strawberry%20Tower/towers021.jpg[/img]

I used bareroot plants planted directly into perlite, no baskets. Fill to bottom row of holes, plant four pants and fill to the bottom of the next row. Messy but there are 100 plants in the same floor space that one would grow in the ground. Next time I would use the largest pearlie I could find. I will try to make some instructions and post them, probably to my website and share the link. Switching to graves this week so I will need something to do to keep me awake. There is also a video on YouTube that shows how I did the top part and another video on the bottom part. Will try to look those up for you. I just tweeked them a little to make my system.[/img]

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brogz
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How do you plan to drain the water into the 55 gallon drum? If the drain comes out into the water it will all flow out the holes in the pipe. So how do ou plan on getting the pipe to come out above the water level in the drum.

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fintuckyfarms
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I have to bury the drum because it gets really hot here in the summer. It's really the only way to keep it cool enough.

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brogz
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Makes sense about how much did this run you. Id be interested in making a few smaller versions of these with a single reservoir. It would be pushed off for a year or two but, It would be a really cool thing to have. Why didnt you run the line for the pump up the side of the pipe and then into the pipe. It would show in the beginning but, when it grows it would be hidden in there and look even better IMO.

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fintuckyfarms
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I did it this way because it is all temporary. This will part of an agriculture exhibit at our local fair in August. I will move all of the systems I am building up to the site the first part of June when we are going on a cruise for our 25th anniversary. The fair will then take over the maintance of the systems. So far most of the supplies have been donated but I will try to figure out the cost per each sometime soon for you. I also plan on building a much smaller version for my window using 4" pipe and using an air pump to lift the nutes up.

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brogz
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Well the small one would be something I would do. I really like the idea of hydroponics and want to grow lettuce that way but everyone tells me to just put it in the ground

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fintuckyfarms
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I will be growing spinach in mine and it will be in my south facing window indoors. I will be able to control the temp in the house better and keep it from going to seed right away. I will post some picts when I get it done. Tonight is my first night of graves so maybe Tuesday?

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fintuckyfarms
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They're growing...

[img]https://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh632/fintuckyfarms/8c9706c6.jpg[/img]

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brogz
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Looking good!
Are you seeing uniform growth over the whole thing or is one part growing noticeably faster then the other?

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fintuckyfarms
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So far the side next to the house is growing faster. I think because it is protected from the wind and we have had at least 2 days below freezing since they were planted. This week just got warmer (mid 60's and some 70's) and the other side is now starting to take off. I have lost maybe 5 so far that I pulled and will replant this weekend. I am adding some root stuff (will have to post the name later) and some peroxide to help keep things clean and oxygenated. This is the first time for me using perlite and it is some weird stuff but the plants seem to like it. Now if I can just keep the chickens away from them it will be all good.

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brogz
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How do you keep the perlite in the holes and what are you running for the roots?

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fintuckyfarms
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Some of the perlite does fall out but I think the weight of it wet keeps it mostly in place. I don't understand the root question.

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brogz
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fintuckyfarms wrote:So far the side next to the house is growing faster. I think because it is protected from the wind and we have had at least 2 days below freezing since they were planted. This week just got warmer (mid 60's and some 70's) and the other side is now starting to take off. I have lost maybe 5 so far that I pulled and will replant this weekend. I am adding some root stuff (will have to post the name later) and some peroxide to help keep things clean and oxygenated. This is the first time for me using perlite and it is some weird stuff but the plants seem to like it. Now if I can just keep the chickens away from them it will be all good.


What root stuff did you add in?

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fintuckyfarms
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Ohhh, I'm brain dead. I will post a picture when I get home from work.

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fintuckyfarms
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Sorry, I went home and went straight to bed and slept till I had to get ready for work. Will try to remember today :)

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fintuckyfarms
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Sorry it took so long to post but here is the root stuff I have been using. Not sure if it is really making a difference or not.

[img]https://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh632/fintuckyfarms/2012may012.jpg[/img]

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I sure would like to see how this project turned out and the fine tunning you've done, if any..

awell17
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I actually tried something similar to this last summer with stackable pots. I found some square plastic pots and drilled a 1 1/2 inch hole thru the middle. I put a 1 1/2 inch pvc through the middle and stacked the pots alternating each 45 degrees. It worked really great for the strawberries I planted. I just didn't know what to do with all the runners. I am also waiting to see how they handled the winter being that I could not cover the strawberries properly. I am zone 7b but we had a mild winter.

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fintuckyfarms
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The project was great, however there were some unexpected results. When moving the unit, the crowns sunk down into the tubes and got wet. As you can guess, some died because while strawberrys don't mind their feet wet, they hate wet crowns. If you search Tri-City Hydroponic Gardeners you can see the newspaper article that was done on them.
This year I will be glueing couplers over the holes to keep the crowns dry.

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fintuckyfarms
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Re: strawberry tower

A few updated photos of the towers. Getting ready to replant them and I learned a few things from last year.

I ended up builing a new stand that was taller and would accomadate both the strawberry tower and the flower tower since it was for display purposes. I built a box out of insulation to cover and insulate the 55 gal barrels. It worked perfect and I was able to keep the nutes cool in 90+ weather with just a frozen juice jug in the nutes.
This year I will not plant directly into the holes because when we moved the display to the fair grounds, everything shifted and sunk and the crowns went inside the hole and got too wet. They were growing and producing like crazy at home but started dying at fair. I will try net pots this year. I am going to try herbs this year and see how that works out. Saw it at disney world so it should work...
There was a great article in the local paper; the display made the front page and was on at least two news stations. Several people remarked they came to fair just to see the display.

I'm on face book almost everyday if you have any urgent questions, Tri-City Hydroponic Gardeners
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Re: strawberry tower

That is super cool!

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