Vertical Herb Gardens – For the Horizontally Challenged Gardner

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Winter gardening is a fading memory, and it’s a great time to start planning gardening strategies for spring and summer. I love gardening and truth be told, I also really like to eat. So it kind of works out. Because I live on a small plot of land, I am always looking for different ways to grow and save space. I have talked about raised bed and trellis gardening, barrel gardening, and even water bottle gardening. Along with these space saving concepts is another great one, vertical gardening. While this is a similar concept to trellis gardening, these vertical gardening boxes are mounted on walls or stood upright. There is a frame which can be made up of many different materials which holds soil and can grow shallow rooted plants.

How to Get Started with Vertical Gardening

To start, you’ll need a frame of some sort. I’ve seen things as simple as a plywood with a cage stapled to it or a pallet with landscaping cloth stapled to it, to more complex piping and bin systems. The long and short of it is that you’ll need something to mount to a all or structure, or a system that will stand, as well a method to hold soil or a growing medium (compost, potting mix, etc.)

Photo – Woolly Pocket

With simpler methods like the pallet, the frame and landscaping cloth act as a giant garden pot for plants. By wrapping the cloth or heavy plastic around three sides and the bottom of the pallet you are left with a face and the top for planting. What’s nice with a pallet is that the boards act as different levels for plants, giving you multiple tiers to grow. Just remember that the bottom needs to drain water so you don’t kill off your plants.

Photo Credit: Urban Zeal Planters

If you want to go the commercial route there are a couple of different options. There are hanging pouches that hold soil and water. For example, the Woolly Pocket can be hung inside or outside and has a waterproof membrane to protect the walls. On the inside it has a felt lining that holds water, spreads it evenly to the roots and also helps wick it away prevent the plants from being drowned. Or you can get a wall unit that looks a little like a mail bin with a number of slots. The crew at Urban Zeal Planters has a number of different sizes and accessories to create an entire wall of plants if you’d like.

Good Plants for Vertical Gardens

Because you will lack depth in the slots or the pouches you will need to use shallow rooted plants. These can include herbs. Wouldn’t that be nice to be able to go out of the door near the kitchen and cut some thyme from the wall? Or you can use shallow rooted vegetables such has lettuces or even strawberries. These plants don’t need a lot of root space to produce green goodness.

Where to Hang Your Vertical Garden

Because you can hang them or stand them up, you can put vertical gardens just about anywhere. The determining factor will be the type of plants you decide to grow and the amount of sunshine they need. For example, if they need full sun you’ll need to have it on a south facing wall. If you plan to water the garden by hose or even a drip system, be sure to take proximity to your watering method into account.

The sky is the limit for your vertical garden options!

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About Leroy

LeRoy was born into a long line of contractors/carpenters/missing links which maybe why he fell naturally into tools and fishing with his paws, errr, bare hands. He has since punctured, stabbed or electrocuted every appendage that can be discussed in mixed company. Given his natural fur vest, he has never been cold. In his parallel life he is a mild mannered environmental scientist where he builds, destroys and builds again. Which let’s face it is much cooler than Superman’s parallel life.

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