Green Stalk is one of the new space-saving stackable gardening systems to enter the market. I’ve tested several similar systems and when the box arrived I wasn’t all that optimistic given the experiences I’ve had.
You see, most of these stackable systems have a watering problem. They don’t get water to the bottom levels and it’s tough to get water through the relatively small spaces the plants leave (a plant fills the small space with leaves and the leaves bounce a lot of the water right out of the container.
This is all by way of saying I wasn’t overly optimistic when I began.
How I ended is another entirely different story.
Disclaimer: The company sent me this unit as a test unit and I did not purchase it.
The system was 5 tiers tall and it all came in one box. A big box but still this 5-foot tall system fit into a single box and as you’ll read, this is a very good thing.
Unpacking it showed us (Mayo – as the vegetable gardener – hung over my shoulder) a stacking system that locked together quite nicely. Each layer had holes in the bottom to allow extra water to pass down to the next layer and all the layers were connected by a central watering hole.
Unpacking and Assembly
In practical terms, it took me about 10 minutes to open it all up and read the instructions. It then took another half hour or so to fill each layer with a soilless mix and stack them up.
I did pay particular attention to how each piece locked into place and thought this was quite ingenious. This meant the assembled system functioned as one integrated unit and not a pile of unconnected planters.
Call it 45 minutes and I had a garden. (Note if you get one of these systems, it’s a very good idea to set it on a concrete walkway pad or other stable foundation.)
Now The Big Test: Watering
- I deliberately started with dry soilless mix as I wanted to test how much water and time it would take to get each layer wet.
- I put the hose into the top layer and turned the valve. Water filled the top reservoir and when it reached the top of the central watering tube, it overflowed down to the next level of soil (the top of the watering tube is below the top of the planer tier so water overflows down to the next layer rather than out the sides)
- I could tell water was moving downwards in the system in two ways: the funny gurgling sound each tube made as it filled and started emptying (the gurgle worked its way down the planting tower) and the water drips though the holes in each layer onto the planting hole of the layer below.
It was interesting to see it start to work immediately – each layer watering the layer immediately below it through the holes in the bottom.
At this point, my optimism for making this system work started to rise. If the single hose watering from the top would actually reach all the layers equally, then a crop could indeed be grown.
Let’s Skip To The Practical Issues
I planted a wide range of flowers and vegetables (both seeds and started plants) The big challenge was putting a tomato on the bottom layer along with a few pumpkin seeds just to see if we could grow those rather large plants.
Everything grew. And grew well.
The watering system worked well all season long. Water from the top – listen to the gurgles – watch for water seeping out the base to know the system was full.
A single watering a day wasn’t sufficient. This doesn’t surprise me – most vegetable plants require multiple waterings every day no matter the size of container. And those tomatoes and pumpkins were greedy.
Multiple waterings were necessary but the good news is that water got to the bottom layer throughout the summer test period – the small holes didn’t block up. (Blocking would have been a problem and I was watching for this)
I also “cheated” a bit and watered the plants directly into their planting hole areas. This was particularly necessary for the bigger plants on hot days (they needed more water than the lettuce and lobelia up top)
Liquid feeding (I used fish emulsion) is necessary and it worked very well.
The Bottom Line
- This system works. And it works well.
- Water flow is excellent and all layers are watered equally.
- You have to watch your watering depending on the size and water requirements of the plants you grow (no different than any other container)
The Real Bottom Line:
We need a small garden for our Southern winter home. I’ve already got it packed up (that’s the good thing – it stacks and packs easily) and we’re taking it South with us rather than give it away like we do with most review products. Rather than digging up soil, Mayo is going to grow the greens and herbs we use in the Green Stalk.
For a small city backyard or apartment balcony, this is the kind of “garden” you can really use. (Use a soilless mix for weight reduction and treat as any other container garden.)
It’s a good system, it works as promised and it’s the best stacking system I’ve tested.
Plus, if Mayo wants to take it South with us as her vegetable garden, that alone speaks volumes. As an aside, I wouldn’t be surprised if she decided she wanted a second one next year. (Vegetable gardeners are so demanding) 😉
You can check it out here (Amazon link) (there is only one review on Amazon but it’s a 5-star)