We were excited about putting the system together when the it was warm enough to plant. One initial fear that we had was that we were going to unpack it and find a page of instructions on how to put it together that we could not understand. Been there, done that! Imagine our surprise at finding a simple guide that has more color diagrams rather than a lot of words. Basically there are 5 very easy steps to put it together, fill and plant it.
You simply fill each of the 5 levels with soil. We did discover that you have to do whatever they tell you to do in the instructions. They tell you to fill it to the top with soil. Do so. We tried to fill it with less, soil and found it was not secure enough to add the next level. You stack each level and in between each level is the water reservoir that looks like a plastic bowl with holes. You will probably need a step stool to put on the last levels. Each level does snap into the lower level. We were initially unsure if it was supposed to snap together or just rest on the top. It is important to make sure the levels are secure.
The instructions say to water each level and we did find it was better to plant, then water each level as they directed. The water reservoir snaps on top of the unit. That is where you place water when watering and it waters the rest of the levels automatically. We used all 5, so that equals 30 planting pockets in just two square feet. We used 5.0 cubic feet of soil. Don't guess on the soil like we did. It would have been easier if we had just looked at the instructions instead of making two soil trips. It is best to use a potting soil mix or something light. What to plant it with? Well that is the fun part. We planted it with chard, lettuce, herbs, strawberries, marigolds and a few other plants that we did not think were suitable, but wanted to test them. These were peppers, onions, carrots and a cucumber.
It has been two weeks since the system was planted and so far all plants are doing better than we expected. We put in plant starts, so the chard is already ready to harvest and the strawberries are ready to fruit. It is really convenient to have this many herbs and vegetables in one place. It makes harvesting very easy. Another plus is that you are growing lots of plants in a very small area. These systems are great if you have a garden or better if you don't. The brochure even mentioned using it inside your house. We could see certain inside settings that this would work very well.
After we put the system together we checked out other reviews of the product on YouTube, and found that the only concern by others in the comments was the price. The reviewers all loved the product. The price did concern us too at first, as we too had seen similar units at cheaper prices. But, now that we have tested the product, we can honestly say that this system is way better. First of all it is way more sturdy and will probably last several gardening seasons. Secondly I don't believe that the other systems held that many plants or had the self watering feature. Love the self watering feature.
The only warning about the product we have for anyone is that it cannot be moved when put together easily. So make sure that you build it where you want to keep it. One other wish is that it would be nice to have other color options such as a green or blue. We will be reporting on the system a few more times this season. If you want more information about the product go to their website.