The Gardener’s Revolution® Classic Vine Planter: Product Review
A self-watering trellis planter that gets the job done but doesn’t have a water level indicator.
Available on Amazon
The Gardener’s Revolution® Classic Vine Planter Kit is a self-watering planter with an integrated trellis and is available exclusively from Gardener’s Supply. It’s intended for those with limited growing space who want to grow climbing plants and vegetables that benefit from growing on a trellis, such as cucumbers and peas.
- UV-resistant polypropylene planter
- BPA-free polypropylene liner
- Powder-coated steel wire trellis
- Planter: 26″ L x 18″ W x 17″ H
- Trellis: 55-3/4″ H installed
- Holds 60 quarts of potting mix
- Reservoir holds 5 gallons
The unit came in a typical cardboard box. It was neatly and tightly packed so that none of the parts were damaged. Everything came through unscathed.
Assembly Instructions May Be Confusing
I found the assembly instructions to be somewhat confusing and the print size was so small that I had a difficult time reading it. There are also a lot of diagrams showing the various components, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with them.
In the end I asked a more mechanically-inclined friend to assemble it for me; he had no problems following the instructions and was able to assemble the planter in about 20 minutes. No tools were needed.
You can buy casters that fit into the bottom of the container so you can easily move it around. If you have the casters, don’t forget to install them first or you won’t be able to put them in properly.
Once we got all the parts put together it looked like the packaging and instruction photos.
Overall, the parts fit together snuggly and the unit appeared to be sturdy and well built.
Setting Up Unit For Planting
After assembly, the next process was to add planting mix inside the fabric liner (grow bag) that occupied the inside of the top half of the planter (the bottom half of the planter is the water reservoir). I loaded the planting part of the unit with 60 quarts of potting soil. This incidentally is the amount of soil that comes with the “kit” form of the Vine Planter (which can be ordered directly from the company or from Amazon).
As with any self-watering planter, be sure to moisten the soil thoroughly before adding it to the container and make sure that it’s in good contact with the fabric liner. It’s also important that the capillary strip be placed properly underneath the grow bag so it can wick water out of the reservoir.
Planting Was A Breeze
With the soil in place, it was planting time. I planted pole bean seeds placed 2-3 inches apart. The size and volume of the planter lets you grow quite a few plants but do check on the mature size of plants first so you don’t overload the container.
Next I added water until it overflowed its reservoir (not something I liked, but more on that later). Filling the reservoir was easy. There are four holes in the top of the plastic tray into which a hose can be easily inserted. You can also water from above and let the water drain through the planting mix into the reservoir.
With the seeds planted and the reservoir full, I had seedlings sprouting within a week. Ten days later vine tendrils began appearing and started to climb the trellis. In another two weeks my bean vines were approaching the top of the trellis. It felt a little like “Jack and the Beanstalk”. I was happy with the growing process (initially).
The powder coated steel trellis is placed across the center of the planter so you can grow plants up both sides. It’s firmly attached to the planter but as plants scramble upwards the planter can get top-heavy and topple over.
For that reason the Classic Vine Planter comes with a tie down system that can be used to firmly attach the planter to a solid structure, like a fence or post. If you’re growing anything that can get heavy, like cucumbers, or if the planter is placed on uneven ground, I strongly recommend that you use the tie downs.
Problems Knowing When To Water
Adding water to the planting container is problematic, as I was unable to see into the reservoir from the fill holes on each side. Although I poked my finger up to the second knuckle to determine how damp the soil was near the surface, one day it was OK, and the following morning the pole bean vines were wilted. Some did perk up a few hours after watering, but some dried up and died.
I would like to have seen a dipstick or some kind of water level apparatus attached to the water reservoir. This would give me a visual indicator of when to add water. I live in Tucson, AZ which has an incredibly arid climate and summer temperatures that can reach 115 degrees. Although the 5 gallon reservoir holds a lot of water, it evaporates quickly in dry conditions. Knowing when to add water would have saved my plants.
Two Piece Design Means Water Overflows
Because of the two-piece design (planting tray on top resting on water reservoir on the bottom), there is an open joint between the two halves. In other words, the entire unit is not watertight. Gardener’s Supply says that the unit comes with “built-in overflow drainage”; perhaps that’s what the open joint is for.
Without a water level meter, there was no way for me to see how much water to add to the reservoir before it overflowed. I placed the Gardener’s Revolution® Classic Vine Planter on my flagstone patio and didn’t appreciate all the extra water overflowing when the reservoir was filled beyond capacity.
Every product purchased from Gardener’s Supply is 100% guaranteed. They will exchange or refund your purchase price—excluding shipping costs—for any product that is not what you expected or does not work as described during its lifetime. Customer service can be reached at 1-800-876-5520.
Where To Buy
The Gardener’s Revolution® Classic Vine Planter (Item# 8594368VS) is available in black, terra cotta or white from Gardener’s Supply for $119.00 plus shipping. It is also available on Amazon for $119.00 + 18.99 shipping.
Overall, this is an attractive self-watering planter and trellis kit that may do best on lawn or bare ground that will absorb reservoir water overflow. The components are sturdy and well made. Only time will tell how the overall unit will hold up in southern Arizona’s summer triple-digit temperatures. When the soil was moist and the reservoir adequately filled, my plants did well, but knowing when to refill the reservoir without using a hand-made dipstick was problematic for the life and health of the plants.
Now, over to you – would you buy something like this for your cucumbers or other vine-growing plants? Let us know in the comments below!
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