U-Tube Planters and Their Uses

Image of U-Tube Grower

These will grow anywhere, providing they have reasonable amounts of sunlight, water and compost. However, like all of us they will thrive better with a degree of protection and loving care. U-Tubes are designed to offer that and when thoughtfully sited they will produce a satisfactory yield.

 

Here is an idealistic example of their power. Just 10 U-Tubes hung against a wall, fence, or from a rope line in every domestic garden or yard in the UK would produce a Tomato Crop of 460,000 Tons. This is equivalent to all the Tomatoes that cross the English Channel in a year reducing carbon miles and the dependency on imported fresh food.

 

A practical domestic example: One U-tube supported by a nail in a wall, of a terraced house belonging to an elderly or disabled person would be at a height to suit the gardener. There would be no bending, no digging, no weeds and no slugs. The yard could contain perhaps 10 bags to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables.

 

U-Tube planters and their use in an urban situation have many advantages over traditional farming. Some examples are obvious but require a mention. Due to their elevated location, they can’t be flooded out and may be permanently installed on flood planes to ensure continuous use of the land.

 

The root system can be readily checked by a quick squeeze of the compost. If it’s too dry, apply only a minimum amount of water thus avoiding ‘run off' i.e. no waste water. If it’s too wet just check the drainage. Excessive water can be collected for re-use.

 

U-Tubes can be set at an optimum height to facilitate ease of harvesting. Protection from gales is less of a problem in urban areas and we can expect the temperature to be warmer than more rural settings.

 

Now let us consider their deployment. We identify urban farm U- tube growing areas as any size of plot, a fence or wall on hard or soft standing in any urban or rural terrain. Larger areas could stretch from the boundary of a traditional farm to the very centre of a city.

 

Examples of potential growing sites:

 

  • Think of all the Business Parks in the UK with wire mesh security perimeter fences that would be perfect for supporting thousands of U-Tubes.

  • School fences which would bring the farm to the pupils.

  • Perimeters of National Trust and Public Parks sites

  • Private landowners.

  • Prisons and youth offending sites where the inmates could learn an Urban Farm trade.

  • The bank on the opposite side of a canal towpath of all navigable UK Canals. These could be planted and harvested from barges the distance being the equivalent of 2000 miles.

  • The space at the top edge of all UK Motorways, using both sides of the carriageway the equivalent of 46.000 miles.

 

 

Practical use of some of the above list may seem difficult in terms of security and accessing the land. That said climate change is becoming more extreme every year and requires radical thinking. The problem has become existential and should guarantee a degree of political will.

 

Logistics

 

The Project would grow organically; its very size will determine that. Success would require saturation planting, turning the town, city and conurbation sprawl effectively into countryside. This would be good news for city dwellers and possibly release some areas of traditional farming for other strategic uses.

 

Urban Farm sites are temporary, if required they can be moved and relocated at the end of a growing season which might be necessary if land needs to be re purposed.

 

We would hope that educational courses could be offered that would culminate in a recognised Certificate in Urban Farming.

 

There will be many suggestions for workable business structures, coordinated management, sales and Government involvement etc.

 

The project could appeal to everyone in education, the larger community and particularly those with special needs, mental health problems, physical disabilities, loneliness or advanced age, as growing vegetables and fruit promotes well-being and can be enormously therapeutic.

 

This we hope would mean that nobody would go hungry for the want of fresh vegetables and fruit. Please see the Rotary Video on our Accessible Edibles Website www.accessible-edibles.org

 

As a simple business model we see Small, Medium Enterprises (SME’s) being the way forward. Using the Urban Farm model, SME’s would have a very inexpensive business start-up plan. They could become part of a Co-operative, an organisation that could bulk purchase materials such as compost and seed and, potentially, pay dividends. Additionally, the Co-operative could act as a clearing house for the sale of produce.

 

Finally, every professional document published regarding Climate Change always concludes - Our world must change, it must be prepared to think big, differently and together. Our very own Home-grown climate hero Sir David Attenborough shares a similar opinion. We could add our own comment. Extreme weather conditions call for extreme solutions.

 

This document is intended to be food for thought. 

 

Should you have any questions or want to discuss anything, please contact David Acton on his Mobile 07831221796 or email acton.sheila@btinternet.com