Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No more pump sucking

Forgot to mention that I changed my irrigation setting a few weeks ago. The pump was running too long per watering and the basin would get very low and the pump would make a sucking noise. So I timed the watering until the pump made a noise and used that for my baseline. I think I went from watering about 4 times a day for 8 minutes to watering 7 times (every 2 hours) a day 2 minutes per watering. Not very scientific but it hasn't affected the plants at all and now I don't have to hear the pump sucking. Bear in mind that the actual water volume probably hasn't changed much because when the basin got low the water volume being sucked up was greatly reduced.

Phillip's Update

I love it when people send me updates on how their wall is doing. This one is from Phillip in The Phillipines. Phillip first wrote in to tell me about the alternative materials he used to make his wall. I was particularly impressed when he used speaker cabinet fabric for his moisture retention material. He proves that almost any dense synthetic felt can work. Here's Phillips update:
Hi matt,

i just pruned my vertical garden, my copea's started to bud and new offsprings of bromeliads can be seen. sent pictures as to the condition of my vertical garden it looks good but i think I have to change the prayer plant and the fern because its in direct sunlight and leaves start to get burnt. Im thinking of building my next green wall next week. ill keep you posted.



Fabian's Update

So Fabian wrote in with an update on the amazing wall he worked on in Bangalore India. Fabian first wrote in when he was trying to source moisture retention fabric in India for the Jaaga Living Building project.

The project has come a long way since those cool mock ups. Here's the update:
Hey Matt,

long time no update.
It takes quite a loooong time to find the right plants for the wall.
Plants that can take the rough Indian environment and the not
so well watersoaking coir felt.
Still testing with drip irrigation and different times of watering.

Check out some pictures:


Click here to see more photos of the Jaaga Living Building project.

Greenwall in a picture frame on Etsy

I don't normally post about greenwalls I run across online. There are already great sites for that like Lushe, but this greenwall in a frame on Etsy was too cute to pass up.

Sam's Update

Sam originally contacted me about damp smell that was coming from his greenwall, in his restaurant in Auckland New Zealand, with over 1,500 plants. Sam sent me a great update with some beautiful pictures.
Sam wrote:
Hi Matthew,

These are some of the better pictures, they were taken to profile the restaurant directly, not so much for the wall itself, but I how they suit.

The wall is made up of 1700 plants, over a 6m high x 4m wide wall, that returns around on one side (the left) so its double sided for 2m .

The plants are mainly peace lily's, boston and hen& chicken ferns, and spider plants, planted into 3 layers of Hydrotech felt (which we got from you), secured back to the same ply that you used, fixed to a steel frame. We used steel as the weight of our wall was so much.

The trough at the bottom is custom made stainless steel trough, clad with raw steel for the right look - the water in the pump is then reticulated through pipework at the top of the wall by a pump. We have 5 hydroponic lamps set up to go on for 8 hours a day overnight.

We PH test, add nutrients (including clearwater), clear blocked pipes, and check all plants twice weekly... and flush out the trough once per week...

so two months in, the wall is really flourishing, it takes a fair bit of work to keep it this way though! The great thing about your style of wall is that you can get it looking amazing from the first day of installation, and you can put it together yourself if you do your homework, and get some good people to help you out.

The smell has diminished substantially also with the addition of 'clearwater' to kill of the odour causing bacteria.

So... finally... cheers for your blog and you tube post!


I am also a planted fishtank keeper and Sam's bacteria problem seems strange to me. Instead of adding something that kills bacteria I'd rather see him add something that establishes a healthy colony of good bacteria. All planted fishtanks have aerobic and anaerobic bacteria living together and healthy tanks do not have an odor. The basin of a greenwall is like a simple pond/fishtank in many ways. I add aquatic snails and worms to my basin to help breakdown plant material and add a natural fertilizer source.

Sam also mentions blocked pipes. I can't stress enough how important it is to include inline filters between your pump and your irrigation tube. Without these filters you will need to check your tubes for clogs like Sam and I. I still haven't retrofitted a filter to my system so I periodically take the top irrigation tube down and clean it out. I also do some spot unclogging with a paper clip. All of which could be avoided with a good filter.

Sam's wall looks amazing and is by far one of the most ambitious walls that was ever inspired by this site. Congratulations Sam!