Laurel's Pyramid Planter
I have been a customer of Garden Harvest Supply for a couple of years now. I recently bought a Pyramid Space Saver Garden with Built-In Sprinkler in order to grow my strawberries. I've had a strawberry bed in the past, but have also fought with my chickens for the right to harvest, so had almost given up completely on ever being able to have a really productive strawberry bed that would not only provide yummy berries throughout the season, but that would allow me to make some strawberry jam and still let the grandkids eat their share when they visited. I think this tiered planter, along with the frame and net, may completely solve my problem.
The first thing I noticed is that, even though the dimensions are accurately given in the product description, until it is actually laid out on the ground, you really don't realize what size this is. If you have any question about whether or not it will fit in the area you want to put it, take a 3-foot string attached to a stake or just use a yardstick to trace the outline of where the bottom ring will be. Choose your mid-spot and use either of these to revolve around the middle and give you an idea of where it will be situated. If you have some flexibility, as I did, this is not necessary, but I had to change my original plan because I realized it would not allow easy access from the back door to the chicken coopnot a good thing. You also want to have easy access to a water source and realize that though it comes with a built-in sprinkler, you will still have to have a water source, such as a hose or sprinkler system to run to the sprinkler access that extends a little out from under the bottom pyramid ring.
Don't forget to lay the sprinkler and hose out prior to adding the soil. If you do, it is easy to fix as long as you only have the first layer of dirt filled in. (Just ask meI did it!) Make sure to use good tape or a good heavy plastic bag taped over the end of the sprinkler head to keep it from getting clogged with dirt. I found that I also should have done this with the female hose end that will be attached to your sprinkling system or to a garden hose because dirt can spill over the edge as you are working. Hooking the sprinkler to a hose once you have it in position will probably also do the trick. Then, as you fill with soil, you will have to readjust the sprinkler head. It really looks like it is too short, but it is just the perfect height once all the dirt is in.
You'll find that the first level is the hardest. The aluminum is sturdy, but getting it to stay in a circle can be a challenge until you get the knack. I recommend taping the seam with duct tapethis seems to add a little stability and keeps the seams from coming back apart. Put the tape along the inside lower half and once the dirt is in you will not even know it's there. Also fill each layer all the way to the top, tamping lightly. The dirt will definitely â€˜water in' and settle and you may have to add some additional dirt once you have watered it thoroughly.
I also recommend using a weed barrier of some kind underneath the pyramid. For mowing purposes I allowed the weed barrier to extend past the bottom ring and then went back and trimmed it after it was complete, allowing the weed barrier to extend past the base in order to allow me the room to put the rubber mulch around the base, allowing the wheels of my mower to ride on the mulch. Strawberry roots are shallow. If using this space saver garden for herbs or flowers, a weed barrier underneath it may not work and you may instead have to de-sod the area under where the planter will sit.
As I said, the first ring is the hardest. One person can easily do this job, but it will take some time. It took me and my husband about 3 hours to do the whole project and that included lugging the bags of soil from one place to another. Get the first aluminum ring as round as possible, and then start filling with dirt. (It takes about thirty 40-lb. bags of top soil) Start in the middle and work the dirt out toward the edges, using the dirt as a stabilizer for the ring and rounding it out as you go. Take a step away on a regular basis and look at the WHOLE picture so that you can judge where you need to push or pull a little bit in order to get it as round as possible. Tamping the dirt along the inside edge will stabilize the ring but still enable you to move it as needed. The aluminum doesn't bend real easily but is light weight enough to adjust easily. Make sure you keep track of the sprinkler head, keeping it centered and letting it rest on top of the soil. (You can make a final adjustment once all three rings are on.)
Once all the soil is in the bottom ring and gently tamped to reach the top of the ring, you can do your second and third levels. As these rings are smaller, they are much easier to keep round and you can push them into the soil slightly in order to keep them in place. I measured on 4 sides of both the second and third rings as I started them to make sure they were centered. If trying to â€˜eye-ball' it, step away to at least five or six feet and walk around it. The perception of center changes from each side, so you want to make sure you have the same amount of space between the wall of the bottom ring and the wall of the second and third rings, on each side. Also make sure that you bring the sprinkler head up through each layer and adjust it to center.
Finally, make your final adjustments to the sprinkler. Keep in mind that breezes or winds will affect the spray as will it being tilted just slightly one way or another. Try to make your adjustments when there is little to no wind. Tamp earth around the sprinkler as you move it one way or another and then tamp more firmly once you have the position set.
Overall I'm extremely happy with the quality of this planter and the ease in which it went together. I've been dealing with severe weather here in Oklahoma, so haven't planted or added the frame support or netting yet, but have plans to do that before the end of the monthweather permitting. I'll keep you up to date on the netting installation. Both the net and frame seem to be very sturdy, so I don't foresee any problems with either the installation or keeping the chickens out of my strawberry bed. I can't wait to see what it looks like when I have strawberry plants overflowing each tier!