As I’ve said frequently, one of the best parts of blogging is the free review swag. I sometimes turn things down, honestly, if I just think it’s a bad idea or I know I won’t like it. But I was happy to accept the Greenstalk container, because it looked like a good idea.
Essentially this is a strawberry pot on steroids. There are 3 and 5 tier sets and you stack them. It isn’t a self watering container, but there is an integral watering system whereby you put your hose into the top and it trickles down into reservoirs for each tier. These reservoirs could be bigger I think, in the sun in the heat of summer I think this could required multiple daily waterings.
Putting it together was easy, but it felt unsteady until I loaded it up with soil, and boy does this thing eat a lot of soil. So so so much soil. You will be buying a lot of potting mix to fill this up, but also your plants will have ample room for root growth. Most of the soil surface though is not open to the surface, so your plants will need to send their roots sideways into the middle of the structure. This middle however is away from the drip irrigation system and of course covered from direct watering so will likely be very dry, roots won’t want to enter it. I will have to check after the growing season is done but I’m not sure roots will get into the middle which makes it wasted space and wasted potting mix.
So, I have an in-ground garden I’m planting of course, but I’m also planting this thing. I actually planted in my garden weeks before I planted this. Guess which one has bigger plants? The Greenstalk does.
This is for a couple reasons, one is that I can’t water my garden, it is at the construction site where our house is being built and there is no plumbing or anything. So I have to rely on rain. I’m able to water the Greenstalk whenever as it is in the backyard of our rental. However, an underappreciated reason why the plants are doing better, and why they germinated faster, is because, this big columnar container, gets good sun exposure and the sun beating down on the sides heats up the soil, which heats up the seeds, which improves germination. This is good for now, in the Spring, but bad for Summer when that heat will increase watering needs.
So, if the proof is in the plants, the product works, everything I planted is doing great. Having the columnar design poses some planting challenges. You must either place it in the middle of a wide open area so there is decent sun exposure on all sides, or accept one side will be shadier than others and perhaps have that influence your planting decision. Option 3 is to MacGyver up an automatic turn table to slowly rotate it like a dish in the microwave.
Is this product perfect? No. It is still a fairly unstable structure, the tiers sort of clip together but it isn’t a strong connection, most of the structure is coming from gravity, from the weight of the soil. A couple of boys horseplaying around could knock it over, spilling plants and soil.
Filled up as it is, the thing is heavy, a caster base would be a big improvement so you could move it. I’m a big strong man and I can push it around, but many gardeners will not be able to. Especially if the soil is wet as it should be. And of course I need to push from the bottom tier lest I knock one of the top ones off.
Watering it is a bore, you hold your hose up to the top and stand there for a few minutes. A clip attached to the top tier that could hold a hose in a place would be an improvement. That way I could put the hose on and do some other chores while it fills up.
The top surface is wasted planting area, a top cap (smaller in diameter that would require separate watering) would be a good idea, to take advantage of the great sunlight the very top gets. you could put the aforementioned hose clip on this top piece.
So, what did I plant in this strawberry container on steroids? Not strawberries. I like strawberries in a garden where they can spread and fill a whole patch. The bottom tier is kale, the next two tiers are bush beans (I think bush beans will do very well in this thing, and so far I’m right), then it is basil, and the top tier is flat leaf parsley. I sorta did biggest to smallest from bottom to top, obviously to keep the upper plants from shading the lower plants too much. I think I’m going to really like this for bush beans, they’ll be easy to see, and easy to harvest. If the top cap planter existed I would put in a low water need trailing herb like thyme, or a low water need flower to bring in the pollinators like begonias.