PVC pipes can be made into a vertical grow system for strawberries that work amazingly well while maximizing space. This setup, built by the folks at Bigelow Brook Farm, is perfect for either aquaponic or hydroponic setups.
There are a few advantages to using PVC pipes in a system like this. First, they are inexpensive and readily available in most areas. Also, they are fairly easy to cut and manipulate with heat. Some people worry about growing food plants in plastic PVC pipes, but food-safe PVC pipes can be found in most areas.
These towers are constructed from thin PVC pipe with slots cut at 8-inch increments on opposite sides of the pipe. These slots are where the plants will sit once the system is complete.
The area above each slot is then heated until the pipe becomes flexible. (PVC should always be carefully heated in a well-ventilated area)
Once the pipe is flexible, the area above each slot can be pushed toward the back of the pipe, close enough so the growing medium doesn’t fall through, but with enough space for water to trickle down the pipe to each plant.
Once this process is finished, the result is a grow tower with alternating pockets down each side. To keep water from dripping out the edges of the slits, a collar can be made out of leftover pieces of pipe and glued to each slot opening.
Finally, a cap is made to fit at the bottom of the tower – if the water won’t be draining directly into a tank.
Several of these towers can be connected together horizontally. The towers can be hung using wire or chain and S-hooks fitted into holes drilled at the top of the pipe. Then each pocket in the tower is filled with a grow medium – in this case, expanded shale.
As you can see, this setup grew beautiful, large strawberry plants in its first season in use. Check out the video from Bigelow Brook Farm for more details and step-by-step instructions on how to build a PVC strawberry tower yourself.