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How to Make a Leopold Bench Garden


In the world of hydroponics, there are great deal of interesting ideas for how to get plants situated -- how to structure a garden, and arrange all of its many parts for success. We've talked about things like cascading gardens, A-frame gardens and vertical gardens. Here's another idea -- a “Leopold bench” garden.

The Leopold bench garden rests upon the idea of using a fairly simple carpentry technique to construct a frame for plant growth. In this case, it also can be something that people consider for growing hydroponic plants.

Here are some steps to designing a Leopold bench garden.

Build the Bench

For a Leopold bench, you’ll want to construct a kind of upside-down Y-frame consisting of one short piece and one long piece, both of which are cut on the same diagonal angle. You'll also need two connecting pieces. One will be a flat bench seat, the other will be a shorter piece that runs along the part of the long diagonal peak.

Connect Pieces

Many who make these types of constructions use carriage bolts for some larger bolt or screw structures to make triangular connections for the wide beam. Small finishing nails or other fasteners can connect a top rail of the bench seat.

Connect Plant Pots or Plant Trays

With a Leopold bench, you'll most likely want to connect the plants or plant trays to the top connecting piece. Use hooks or clips to rest these trays or pots on the top post, similar to how you would connect a garden box to a window sill.

Situate the Reservoir and Pump

In this type of garden, the reservoir and water pump will usually sit down on the ground underneath the seat. One interesting point here is that you could use the seed for another row of plants, or you could use it as furniture. Either way, the water will get pumped from the ground up to the top of the seat.

Situate the Bench in Light

One of the popular things about the Leopold bench is that it could be done outside in natural sunlight. However you can also situate it inside and use artificial grow lights.

Maintain as Necessary

Introduce nutrient-rich water to plant roots. Over time, water, nutrients and light will raise green plants. Many of these will grow down over the side of the Leopold bench. For example, lots of hydroponic growers choose to grow things like tomatoes and cucumbers passively, so that the vines hang down rather than being supported by a trellis or other structure. The same thing is true with many green herbs -- they will grow down from your plant pots, not up.

For more on all kinds of hydroponics, check out what Dealzer offers a diverse growing community.

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