Thursday, March 31, 2011

Southern Patio Jumbo Growing Tower for the Rooftop Garden

Bucolic Bushwick Retail Bought Self Watering Container

I was shopping at Manhattan's 23rd St HD when I came across this planter, the Jumbo Growing Tower from the HDR line of Southern Patio. This is the first self watering container I've ever seen sold in this store. I bought one for the roof, $15.98 plus tax.

The planter is 15 inches wide and 12 inches tall. The soil chamber is 8 inches deep and the water reservoir is 4 inches deep.

Remove the black divider and you see the caging kit stored in the bottom of the container.

The caging kit consists of 9 sticks and 3 rings. It's very easy to assemble

The label says the planter with the cage reaches 59 inches, but I measured only 45 inches. It would reach 59 inches, however, if a 4th ring and set of risers were included in the package. I assume at some point the company changed their mind and reduced it to a set of three and never bothered to correct the label. Either that or I got an incomplete kit. I don't care enough to pursue the issue, but if someone else buys this planter and they get a 4th ring and set of risers please let me know so I can update this post.

The label also states the water reservoir holds 2 gallons of water, but I was able to fill it to a little over 2.25 gallons.

The planter and the green sticks for the cage are made from a hard plastic. The black divider and green rings of the cage are made from a softer, bendable plastic. Does this matter? Time and the elements will tell. I'll let you know how it does on the roof.

Southern Patio Jumbo Growing Tower: $17.40

Running Total: $113.95

Update: My thoughts after five years of use.

As I suspected all the hard plastic parts have held up well and the soft plastic parts have had a tougher time. One of the green rings has a broken arm and a small section of the black divider broke off when I got a little too aggressive with a garden spade, but both of these things were easily fixed with some duct tape. 

The support cage cannot support anything heavy, I use it only to keep leafy growth in check. Don't rely on it to support a tomato plant.

The support cage struggles in high wind conditions. The sticks and rings fit together well, but they do not lock into place. If all 3 tiers of the support tower were used and it was a windy day the tower would sway so much a few of the sticks would often come loose from the rings and fall to the ground. More of an annoyance than anything else.

I don't regret buying it. I wouldn't buy another one for myself, but I would recommend it to someone thinking about getting into gardening. It's a good entry level product.


  1. Price is not bad but 2 gallons is not enough if you're planning on indeterminate tomatoes unless you fill it daily during summer. Even the 3 gallon earthbox does not hold enough water for indeterminates.

  2. Hi William, I agree, indeterminate tomatoes in containers are -very- hard to keep watered in the summer. Off hand, I can't think of any commercial self watering container that can last more than one day without needing to be refilled. A DIY container from a tote with a very large water reservoir would be needed.

  3. Oh, I like the new Self Watering Container. And that it has it's own cage, very cool!

  4. Hi Mimi, the caging kit is what convinced me to give it a try. To get both a container and a cage at this price got my attention.

  5. i bought 3 of these recently, and they all had only 3 risers, same as you, all of the instructions say 4. I have some cherry tomatoes growing in one, and it seems to be doing well. Just planted some squash in another. And with the 3rd, one of the holes/holders that holds the rods came broken, so I'm just using this pot for herbs and arugula.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!