The Garden Tower 2™ has been getting rave reviews! In February we changed the plastic formulation to eliminate the possibility of cold temperature-related shipping damages from heavy impacts during transport. We’ve learned that the HDPE plastic formulation we switched to has too much stretch and flex to use directly with casters in the long term. Essentially, the softer (but more durable) food-grade HDPE plastic will slowly warp if caster wheels are used for more than a day directly under the tower’s feet without proper support.
CAUTION Caster wheels cannot be left inserted into the feet of the Garden Tower 2™ beyond temporary use when moving the tower to a new location.
Garden Tower Project recommends the use of stationary objects under the towers, or a platform with casters attached. For full-time caster use, we recommend a platform or dolly. Many of these platforms have built in wheels that reduce the stability of the tower. Please use them with caution.
Three Garden Tower 2™ users offered their solutions. The first is the easiest and an out of-the-box solution requiring no skills, know-how, or tools. The second method, which extends the first, is a good fit for folks with time, tools, light DIY skills. The third is more highly engineered and for the experienced DIY’er with appropriate skills and tools. Garden Tower project gives a big thank you to our three supporters for their contributions!
Suggestions for Using Casters
- Do not use only a spindle caster through the feet for more than 12 hours. The base must be at least partly supported.
- The platform needs to be a minimum 29” inside diameter for round drum dollies.
- The larger the wheel, the easier it is to negotiate uneven surfaces.
- Polyolefin wheels will resist getting flat spots, and are unlikely to mar surfaces.
- Treated, marine grade, or painted plywood will last the longest in all weather conditions.
CAUTION Many of these platforms have inboard wheels that will reduce the stability of the tower. Please use them with caution.
This first offering from Raymie Emslander is the easiest and an out of-the-box solution requiring no skills, know-how, or tools: “An 85 gallon drum dolly is the right size for the GT2 without a plywood platform. It has small openings on the sides to let the excess water out. The lip is low enough you can still get the drawer open. Ours looks red because we gave it another coat of paint.”
Jeanne Warner posted this solution: “I just ordered a 29″ internal diameter, cross deck dolly from McMaster-Carr for $78 that is load rated at 900# and has 4 rotating polypropylene casters. It will cost about $90 with shipping, delivered in two days. Once I add a plywood circle over the cross, this is the perfect solution to having a stable deck for your GT2. You should still be able to move it when you want to. According to my brother, a mechanical engineer, the polypropylene casters will assist in distributing the load so that the weight of the properly watered and growing GT2 will not overly burden your flooring if you are growing indoors.
My dolly is 29″ and you can see by the photo that it is just big enough. I recommend flipping the dolly over onto the plywood and tracing around the inside of the rim so that your cut matches whatever imperfections exist in the used dolly. Also, I suggest using treated/marine grade plywood, so that it weathers well.
The treated plywood will be absolutely fine for a LONG, long time—years and years—especially if it is painted with something like Rustoleum. The main danger point is not the top, however, it is the cut edges. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am solving this by running caulk around the edge to seal it to the dolly ring. This will prevent water from getting to the edges, where it wicks in and wreaks havoc. The additional issue (with treated plywood) is that it needs to be dry when any freezing takes place, as that will expand the layers and then degrade the lamination.
I would strongly recommend that anyone who is using this set up outside—in other words, most everyone—paint the treated plywood deck with a weather resistant paint and not caulk around the rim like I am. Because I am using it indoors, my main goal was to prevent overflows from hitting the floor of my mud room. When working outside, I should think the main point of the plywood would be to support the GT2 and that drainage around the edge would be optimal to prevent deterioration of the plywood.”
Duane Benson sent us this great DIY option to us: “My landlord requires any planters be movable. So I began planning on how to put wheels on my GT2 before it ever arrived. Using a barrel dolly never even occurred to me. So I proceeded to do my own dolly concept. A barrel dolly would have been easier, but would not have had the size, quality or locking ability of the wheels I have.
Looking at the feet, I felt it was designed to rest the entire foot on a solid surface, not just a caster carrying the weight. Even though on the website I saw a suggestion a caster cold be inserted, I decided a rigid dolly with platforms to support the entire foot of the tower would be the solution I was after and what it really needed. The tower would be bolted to the dolly. I wanted a large wheel diameter so I could move the tower from the back patio after the growing season, to the garage for the winter without catching on cement seams and handling a transition from grass to cement.
I ordered three high-quality, fully-locking 5 inch casters made of polyolefin, so they won’t develop a flat spot sitting in one place long term like rubber and other plastics and soft casters do. Fully locking makes the GT2 very secure when parked and braked. The fully-locking caster locks both the wheel, and swivel. I got the casters from Caster City They cost me $47.50 shipped.
I already had a scrap piece of unistrut. It was just enough.
The fasteners were a little pricy ($37 from Home Depot) but after about 40 minutes with the Sawzall, I had a working rigid dolly with my GT2 securely mounted.
So my total cost of the dolly would be right around $100 if I had to buy the parts I didn’t already own. I’m into it about $84.
If you buy a barrel dolly for $65 (heaven forbid what shipping would cost) and have to buy a sheet of pressure treated 3/4″ plywood, your going to be into it at least that much, or even a little more. Finding free or recycled dollies or plywood is the key to cutting cost. I am very happy with the result.
As an added benefit, I think I am going to go ahead and plant my peppers and other plants that can freeze since I can easily roll it in and out of the garage each morning/evening.
I am keeping my eyes open for a scrap piece of plastic lumber I can replace the plywood platforms with. The plastic lumber is made from recycled pop bottles and never rots. Those can reasonably be replaced with a loaded tower at a future date.