I settled on settling on a method of building some strawberry towers. People make strawberry towers all the time, so how hard can it be?
I'm going to cut some 900 mm lengths of PVC, cap and tap the bottoms, and grow perfect strawberries for ever.
That's the plan.
And I have to be quick, because some Doctor guy from UniSA (a local university) is coming to take a peak at my little system next week, and while I was between grow houses, we had a bit of a storm here that saw all three of my tomato plants and most of everything other than my strawberries, had to have a bit of a lie down. One of my tomatoes decided to move permanently into the compost bin as a result of the inferior accommodation I was providing.
No hard feelings.
Most people make tall strawberry towers to maximise their grow space, they also make them double sided to maximise their growing space. ie they put strawberry plants on both sided of vertical tubes with strawberry plants. I don't know why people don't use all four sides of their circular tubes, but they don't.
Perhaps it's to prevent overcrowding.
Perhaps it's all about circle's not having sides.
I wont be doing it, I'll be doing something less efficient.
But at the same time, I'll be doing something that I hope will be less likely to leak around the holes. I'll be making semi-vertical strawberry towers.
In this case, 90mm end caps.
These will form the base of my little strawberry towers, and the hole will allow the water I feed into the top, to drain back to the fish tank.
You can clean the holes with anything sharpish, like the corner of a metal ruler if you have some kids you can set to the task, or whatever one of these things is called in your part of the world.
Try not to lose the integrity of the nice clean drill cut as it will help the seal if the clean cut made by the drill is left intact. Avoid sticking anything through the hole, and just trim the bur from each edge.
I was talking to someone from my local hardware store, who mentioned that silicone doesn't stick very well to black poly pipe. I know this from my first attempts at solar hot water heating, but it's nice to have it confirmed.
I cat a diagonal to make it easy to force through the slightly smaller hole in the PVC end cap.
I'm guessing the drill was 12mm, and the pipe is also 12mm outside diameter. So perhaps 10 internal diameter.
Either way it shouldn't really matter as this clear stuff stretches a lot if you soak it in hot water for a bit. You can add to the stretch by putting some closed long noes pliers into the tube, and them opening them when you soak it in hot water. With enough force, you can stretch it quite a bit. Dip in cold water to speed up the cooling time, and it will set in the stretched position.
To this end, I cut the tube off at around 8cm long, and pulled the hose down so that, when the tower is standing, the pipe will be low enough to drain water out before the cap seal comes into question.
At this point, you should shine a torch into the inside side of the tube.
It looks really interesting.
This photo doesn't do it justice, but was the best I could manage.
It's a very pleasing thing to look at in the real world.
If you have a fish tank with some of this tubing pumping air to them, cut some off a tiny bit, and have a look with a torch.
They wont miss it. Fish love science.
So the plan is to make five of these caps and stick them onto some semi-upright tubes, full of holes full of strawberry plants. These will all drain into a gutter that drains into the fish tank.
That should work.
I'll be making 5 of these short strawberry towers to go on the southern side of my grow house.
I live in the southern hemisphere, so that's the side that won't block the sun in winter. I don't care how much sun I block in summer. We have plenty of the stuff in summer in Australia, and for that matter we have plenty of it in winter as well. Although saying anything general about Australia and weather in the same sentence is a bit pointless because this place is kind of big. Australia stretches from a few hundred kilometres away from the polar region to within a few hundred kilometres of the equator, so we see a fair range of climates. Mine in Adelaide, is Mediterranean in behaviour.
Which is nice.
[note from the future - a couple of the little strawberry towers leaked at the bottom around the unsealed end cap, but a thin smear of silicone from the outside fixed it.]
Aquaponics - Strawberry towers MK 237 and much much more at http://120thingsin20years.blogspot.com/
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