Tools and Materials: <ul><li>Wire Fencing – 20 gauge wire with 2" x 4" openings (can be found at hardware store in 4 ft. x 50 ft. roll) </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape Fabric – Porous, spun-bound weed fabric </li></ul><ul><li>Wire cutters or side cutters </li></ul><ul><li>6" zip ties (black) </li></ul><ul><li>Scissors </li></ul><ul><li>Pot or suitable decorative container </li></ul><ul><li>Leather palm or cut-resistant gloves </li></ul><ul><li>Pocket knife </li></ul>
Step 1: Constructing the frame Use a smaller container as a guide to measure the proper diameter of the cylinder you will use in the larger decorative container. Allow an overlap of one fencing section to provide seam stability
Step 1: Constructing the frame Cut the fencing to the desired diameter using the wire cutters. CAUTION: Be sure to wear protective gloves. The cut ends on the fencing can be sharp, and as it is cut, the fencing may curl back on itself. An extra set of hands comes in handy. At left: A picture of the cut fencing ready to be to zip-tied and formed into the cylinder you will use for planting.
Step 1: Constructing the frame Using the zip ties, overlap one rectangle of the wire fencing and zip-tie the two sides together. Pull the ties tight to keep the fencing from unrolling. Continue zip tying the rest of the tower together. TIP: Zip tie the center of the tower together across the joints in the fence. This will add stability and prevent the fencing from bending once filled.
Step 1: Constructing the frame When the tower is fastened together, look down the center to make sure it is round. If there are any spots that are really out of shape, simply push or pull on the outside of the tower to return it to its proper shape. Using the wire cutters, cut off the long ends of the zip ties leaving about ¼". Be careful here as well: The plastic ends can be sharp.
Step 1: Constructing the frame Check to make sure the tower fits into the selected container. The tower should fit about ½ to ¾ of the way into the container to increase stability once filled.
Step 2: Determining height Now look at the tower and determine how tall you would like it to be. This is a rather subjective step. Just be careful not to leave it too tall, as windy weather can increase the chance of tipping. 1 ½ x the height of the container is usually a safe size.
Step 2: Determining Height After you have determined the height you would like, use the wire cutters to cut the tower to height. The tower has been cut to size and is now ready for landscape fabric. TIP: Save the piece of tower you removed. You may be able to use it in another container.
Step 3: Wrapping the fabric Wrap the landscape fabric around the outside of the tower to measure how much you will need to complete the tower. Cut the fabric to size using a pair of scissors. Let the fabric overlap an inch or two so soil cannot spill out through the seam. Then roll the fabric and slide it inside the tower. Allow the fabric to expand and smooth it along the inside of the tower. Cut the excess fabric from the top of the tower leaving 2" of fabric at the top of the tower. This will help secure the fabric to the tower.
Step 3: Wrapping the fabric Fold the overlap over the top edge of the tower. Using a pocket knife, or some other suitable tool, cut small slits in the top edge just under the metal rim, through both sides of the fabric. Cut one slit in every third rectangle.
Step 3: Wrapping the fabric Insert the zip ties through the slits cut with the knife. At left: Top of the tower with all of the zip ties in place and tightened. Now cut the ends of the zip ties off leaving about ¼".
Step 3: Wrapping the fabric The completed tower ready to be filled with soil.
Step 4: Adding soil Remove the metal tower frame from the container and place a small piece of fabric at the bottom to prevent soil from running out. Now it’s time to fill the tower with potting soil, filling the inside of the tower first.
Step 4: Adding soil To prevent the soil from sinking, fill the tower up about one-third with soil, then add water to settle the soil. Fill to two-thirds full with soil, and add more water. Fill to the top of the tower with soil and add water. NOTE: Leave the soil about 1" from the top of the tower. Lightly press the soil into the tower once it is full in order to further prevent sinking of the soil.
Step 4: Adding soil By hand, fill in the gap between the tower and the container. This will aid in overall stability and help keep the tower upright. The filled tower is almost ready to be planted with Wave!
Step 5: Adding plants Cut a vertical slit and a horizontal slit into one of the top-level rectangles in the tower. You will end up with a “+” shaped hole cut in the side of the tower. Cut one hole in every other rectangle and stagger them as you work your way down the tower. Leave the bottom row just above the soil line free of holes. This will allow the plants to more easily cascade over the edge of the container.
Step 5: Adding plants Pick the plant size you will be putting into the tower. The size shown here came from a 52-plug seed tray. Any size plug will work. Simply adjust the size of the “+” shaped hole accordingly. Using your finger, create a void behind the opening to press the plant into. Try not to make the void too big or too small or the plant may be stressed after planting.
Step 5: Adding plants Gently press the plant or seedling into the opening. It should fit snugly, but you shouldn’ t have to force it. Once the plant is inserted in the tower, make sure the flaps on either side of the opening are once again flush with the outside of the tower. This will help hold soil in the tower when watering.
Step 5: Adding plants Sometimes when planting, the top row of plants the soil gets pushed up slightly in the top of the tower. If this happens, gently press the soil back down with your hand until the surface is smooth once more.
Step 5: Adding plants Continue planting the rest of the tower in the same manner, filling in all the holes as you work your way around the tower. Plant the top of the tower with a few plants to finish off the project.
Step 6: Enjoy gardening with Wave! Soon your Wave Petunia Tower will blossom and bloom like crazy all summer long!
Care Instructions: <ul><li>Water as needed. Early on the towers will require deep soakings almost everyday, both from the top and the sides. As the towers mature, deep soakings from the top as needed will be adequate. </li></ul><ul><li>Fertilize every other week or more frequently if needed. </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of the season, remove the steel framework from the container and store for next year. Discard the old landscape fabric and replace with fresh fabric the following spring. </li></ul>
Other Ideas & Combinations: <ul><li>Fill your tower with Calibrachoa, Verbena, Vinca, Trailing Lantana, and other trailing-type plants. </li></ul><ul><li>Your tower can be “edible” too! Mix in herbs or compact-growing vegetables as an accent, and save space by growing vertically. </li></ul><ul><li>Have low-water needs? Try Succulent varieties as an interesting, very low-maintenance focal point. </li></ul>
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