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Moorfleeter Deich 377, Hamburg, DE
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Lettuce Tree

Project: Home Garden

Posted by Martin Korndoerfer over 11 years ago

Here i am trying to get the most out of my balcony space. Obviously, the vertical direction is the way to go...

Inspired by other bloggers, i wanted to try my luck with the much acclaimed lettuce tree. Reported challenges have been to keep the soil in the upper part from drying out.

Alright, off i go to the hardware store again. This time, spending 3.50 Euro for the polypropylene pipe (15 cm diameter) do not hurt me or my wallet. The bottom is an old, broken rubber gynastic ball - which was free.

So, i started off drilling holes of 4 cm diameter - staggered to use the space most efficiently. The distances between holes are 20 cm vertically, 15 diagonally and 25 cm horizontally. Then i filled to pipe with aged compost (note to self: next time, first fill with soil, then drill the holes). On top i left space for 5 l of water (incidentally the exact volume of my watering can). I divided the pipe in thirds by adding soil, then a plastic pot (with drainage holes) with roughly 15 cm diameter at the top. Then soil again, then another pot, then soil again. This, i hope will slow the water sufficiently to hold a significant amount of water in the top two layers to allow the lettuces to grow.

Next, i planted lollo rosso lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. crispa) in some holes and the hardy endive (Cichorium endivia) in others. In one hole I added nesturtium (Tropaeolum) for good measure. Around the pipe, into the soil filled gymnastics ball, i planted some more lollo rosso, strawberries and a wu-wei plant (Schisandra chinensis). To avoid soil falling from the holes, i stuffed some old linen into the hole, just leaving enough space for the lettuces to peak out between the sheets.

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Comments (3)

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Ute Bohnsack
Ute Bohnsack : Cool. Let us know how the lettuces do, especially given that it is quite late in the year already.
Posted over 11 years ago

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Sven Horner
Sven Horner : Haha! Great Idea with that gymball. :D
Posted over 11 years ago

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Martin Korndoerfer
Martin Korndoerfer : i got several green smoothies out of the tree, but it took a while before the lettuces took root and started producing. then the cold started... anyway, most of the lettuces (2/3) actually made it through the first part of the winter alive (down to -5/-8) and i was looking forward to an early harvest. Then there was a warm spell and another frost spell (down to -15 for a longer period), which killed off most of them except for 1 (the one on the top facing the window. I guess it got more light reflected from the glass and was out of the wind...

oh the gymball... not such a good idea after all, because the pipe doesn't stay upright. i guess a hard pot that doesn't deform next tim
Posted about 11 years ago

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