Before using the Greenstalk Vertical Grow System, I always believed the best way to garden was either directly in the ground or in raised beds. I never considered using any kind of vertical system. My reasons were varied. However, my greatest concern was crowding. I assumed that cramming too much into one space would certainly cause disease problems. Without proper circulation, I was just asking for trouble.
I was wrong
Since using a vertical grow system, I must say I ‘m convinced this is a great addition to my traditional gardening methods. I’m not advocating abandoning your raised beds or traditional in-the-ground garden. But I do suggest you give vertical gardening a try.
Greenstalk Vertical grow system
Benefits of growing vertically
One reason I resisted vertical gardening in a tower was air circulation. I thought putting too many plants together in one area would not allow proper air to flow around them. As it turns out, circulation is actually improved as each section is far enough away from the others so it’s not a problem. And the fact it is elevated actually helps with air flow underneath the unit.
What is a runner?
A runner is a shoot or stem coming from the root of some plants. These “shoots” are produced by all June-bearing strawberry plants and most ever-bearing and day-neutral strawberry varieties.
Strawberry plants produce runners to propagate themselves. This is basically how the plant reproduces. It lays down the runner looking for soil. Once it finds it, the shoot attaches itself to the soil and starts to root. This is where a new plant will develop.
Why prune them?
As the plant lays down its runners, it expends a lot of energy into producing its offspring. There are two schools of thought here. Some people won’t even let the plant lay down its runners as too much energy is taken away from the plant and less energy goes into strawberry production. Others think that the runners should be allowed to take root, but be cut away from the parent plant immediately after the new plant has established itself.
I am a fan of both methods. Strawberry plants only produce fruit for a few good years and then production drops off dramatically. I usually cut shoots I see coming off the plants for the first couple of years. After that, I usually let the plant propagate itself because I know they are aging and they will be producing less over the years. Then I will cut the runner away from the parent plant.
Never leave the plants attached to each other as it serves no purpose and you may be setting yourself up for failure if one of the plants dies, it could take the other one down with it.
It’s raining today and the forecast is for a lot more of it the next few days. I decided to pull a few books off the shelf to flip through and gain inspiration. I’ve mentioned before that I have 4 huge bookshelves full of gardening, survival and homesteading books, so the task was daunting. What do I read?
After staring for 15 minutes wondering what to pick, I decided to pull three of my favorites, ones that I thought I could share with my readers.
#1 The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips
Great instructional book for the small grower. In The Holistic Orchard, Michael Phillips shows you how to adapt to nature rather than try to change it.
His healthy, holistic approach to maintaining an orchard is a refreshing change from the standard teachings of modern orchardists.
#2 Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza
Lasagna gardening is a no till, little work way to generated compost by layering. No turning or taking your soils’ temperature. Just stack your browns and greens alternating between each. Let it sit for a few months and then plant. Gardening can’t get any simpler that this.
#3 Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
Four Season Harvest is all about growing year round. This book has been the standard for so many people wanting to grow food for their families all year long.