Langford Living Walls by Ashley Purvis

Today we were planting some of the modules for Green Wall #3. We took the crates and put black fabric inside to line them and keep the soil inside of them.

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We put soil in the bottom of the crate, and then cut slits in the fabric for the plants to grow through. Then, we placed the rosemary into the crates and pulled the plant through the slit cut in the fabric. This allows the roots to grow inside the fabric and the soil, while the rest of the plant can be viewed outside of the crate. Then we topped off the row of plants with more soil.

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This process was repeated until the crate was filled with soil and plants for each row. These plants are very secure inside their modules, and I believe this will help the plants thrive. Compared to the other two green walls, I think this will be the most successful, as far as both plant growth and soil retention are concerned.

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Yesterday we finished Green Wall 3 up on the roof of Langford. This wall was made with a modular system. There were several types of plants used in the making of this wall, including Yarrow, Climbing Fig Ivy, Artemesia Powis Castle, Sedge, Rosemary, Thyme, and a few others.

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The first stage in building this wall was drilling holes in the concrete, and putting up the rail system. These rails hold up the boxes of plants. While we were finishing up yesterday, we realized that the plants might be too heavy for the rail system to support. To solve this problem, we had to add more screws to the rails.

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When we finished putting together the crates with the plants inside, we had to hang them up on the wall. We started from the bottom, and placed the boxes so that each type of plant was featured on the bottom, middle, and the top of the wall.

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Our placement of the different plant modules was based on the goal of researching how well the plants would thrive based on their position on the wall. This research will come from observing the life of the plants and how well they do at their position on the green wall.

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Wall 3 during installation

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Wall 3 completed

By Ashley Purvis

Living Wall Installations by Micheal Minero

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After the plants were ready and prepared in the greenhouse, we finally could begin planting the second green wall system. The process for this system was we had to wrap each plant in coconut fiber, so it could retain more water from the irrigation, and stuff them into each pocket. The system worked out pretty well. They were more difficult to place once we started reaching the top, however it worked out well. I can’t wait to see what the wall looks like once the plants start growing. I believe a lot of the plants have potential to grow over the system and create a solid green wall.

 

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Wall 2 Replanted

For this workday, we started loading modules for the other green roof system we were studying. The system was composed of a plastic crate that contained a large bag of growth medium within it. We would begin the loading process by making cuts throughout the bag, to denote where our plants would be growing out of. Afterwards, we would unload the medium, and row by row, place the plants and place the medium back in. While this system (not shown) did have its problems, I believe it has a lot of potential to be great. Mostly due to the amount of growth medium that can be within each module.

By Michael Minero

 

 

Kick Starting the Semester at the Greenhouse! by Michael Hernandez

With the beginning of the semester came the planning and ordering of plants and modules. The plant selections were based off on how well previous plants did on the rooftop, and wether or not the module used for those plants affected their growth. The new modules provide potential for the plants roots to grow with less constraint, thus giving us the opportunity to replant some plants that didn’t do so well in the previous modules. Plants with a resistance to drought and with a well performance in Texas climate were perforable for the replant. Some of these plants included Powis Castle, Oregano, Lavender, Yarrow, Mexican Petunia, Rosemary, Sage, etc.. We started the process of building the modules in the green house. Thereafter, we placed cloth bagging’s inside the modules and filled them with soil. The next step was to place the plants in the modules. We punctured the cloth bags filled with soil in the desired locations in order to pop the plants in. After each incision was made we proceeded to pouring the soil out and placing the plants in one by one. We followed a build-up mechanism, which meant we had to place one row of plants, then put in a bit of soil to hold them in place. This was repeated till we reached the final row of the module. This process took us a few class sessions, given that we didn’t have too many hands to work with. Nevertheless, we finished the plantings and left the modules to sit in the greenhouse for a few weeks in order to allow the plants to grow in a little better before they went up on the wall.”

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Removing dead plants from wall 2

 

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“Taking on the Green Roof!

Once module plantings were completed in the greenhouse we moved on to the green roof. There were plenty of tasks to be carried out up there including fixing irrigation piped that were ruptured during the winter freeze, Taking out the dead plants from the current modules, and installing new sprinkler heads. Through these processes I learned a few things. First i learned of how unforgiving freezing temperatures can be towards irrigation pipes and lines. We must be cautious during those periods. Second, I learned a bit on how to put together irrigation pipes using PVC cement and primer. Third, I learned of a few flaws with the planning of existing modules, and with the modules themselves. With the first wall I found that there wasn’t too much room for the plants root structure to flourish, as well as the module experiencing soil loss. The second wall I found that the technique used to wrap the plants in, might contribute to the roots constriction, which would inevitably lead to the plants death. Finally, the third module, which was recently installed, seems to be full and lush, thus might experience the highest success rate in terms of keeping plants alive and lush. I believe that this new plant selection will perform better than the previous plantings because of two reasons: 1) A better module system that will allow for better root growth, and 2) A beautiful and fragrant plant selection that are well known for performing well in Texas climate.”

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Wall 2 replanted

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Wall 3 installed.

by Michael Hernandez

The Creation of Wall Number 3 by Jose Perez

In the beginning of the Spring 2014 semester, we went to the Langford roof to take inventory of the plants that had served through the winter. Soon after the inventory process we meet to discuss possible plant options for wall number 3. Once the list was created, we then headed to the Horticulture Greenhouse to transplant (plant the plants in larger containers) some of the plants that were at the greenhouse, which this would promote further root growth. Once all the plants were transplanted, the next step was to build the modules for wall number 3. This process was a fairly simple process, the steps are as follow: take the sides for the module and attach it to the larger pieces and then attach that to the base and finally add the filter fabric like bag inside. Post the buildings of the  modules, we added the soil to them to see how much soil would be needed for each module , which we later decided was a bad idea, because we would then need to empty the filter fabric bag to add the plants first. Later on we added the plants, which included Yarrow, Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, Mexican Petunia, Oregano, Powis Castle, etc., to the modules then filled them up with the soil. After all the planting was completed, the modules sat in the greenhouse for about a few weeks to allow for the establishment of the plants.

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The second half of the Spring 2014 semester was spent on the Langford roof. During this time we repaired broken irrigation lines, which cracked during the winter months, and tossed away all the dead plants from walls 1 and 2. Also we replanted all of wall 2 with some similar plants from wall number 3 (which are stated in my previous post http://jap2016.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/the-creation-of-wall-number-3-at-the-greenhouse/) to see which module system would work better,wall 2 or wall 3. The installation of wall 3 ended today with the  mounting of the modules on the concrete wall. Compared to the other two walls on the roof, I believe that this wall will be more effective due to the large amount of space in each module, which this will lead to lavish plant growth that we all desire. This green roof research class taught me many useful skills related to both my major and in life.

 

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by Jose Perez