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Interior decorators know the classic design tip: when working with a tight space, look up!
Using creative wall space can make a difference in an apartment or a small house (I learned it first hand), and can also work in a garden. If your outdoor space is limited, these vertical gardening ideas can take your garden to the next level.
What is a vertical garden?
Put in a very simple way, a vertical garden is a way to encourage fruits, vegetables, herbs or flowers to grow instead of going down to the ground, using some kind of support or structure. It can be done on the floor, in containers, on a wall or even without a floor.
The best edible plants to grow in a vertical garden have climbing or vinification habits. like cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, peas and even a variety of pumpkin and squash. (You can also add vinification flowers to the vertical elements for beauty as well).
While the lack of space (such as in an urban setting or apartments) often motivates the vertical approach, there are many other advantages to this creative form of gardening:
- Disease prevention
- Ease of harvest (without tilting)
- Higher performance
- Better formed products (no flat side of the ground)
- Visual interest or even privacy
- Portability; some container systems can be moved to keep track of available sun
- Control of invasive or extension plants such as pumpkin vines
- Create shelter for shade-loving plants (or people)
The possible ways to look like a vertical garden are endless, from the simplest and cheapest to the most complex and expensive. With an indoor growth light and the right system, you can even grow year-round produce at home!
But this begs the question:
A DIY or Not a DIY?
I became interested in vertical gardening (beyond stacking caged beans or tomatoes) when a friend bought a Tower Garden System. They are expensive, but the idea of growing lettuce, kale, cucumbers, beans and even tomatoes in a few square meters in a yard or even year-round indoors? Tempting. (And for someone in an urban setting and with rising costs of organic produce, it’s possibly worth it!)
(Update: Since then I have found a smaller and less expensive indoor garden option AeroGarden. Full details in a later post, but I have the Harvest Family model. It was easy to assemble and the kids love to watch it grow.)
Of course, I immediately started thinking of ways to make my own DIY vertical gardening system cheaper and there are many DIY tutorials. If you are looking for a floorless system, the list of materials can be long and can reach $ 200-250.
For now, I decided to follow a simpler route and see what I could do to adapt the traditional outdoor gardens and make them more efficient, and maybe add a small indoor garden of herbs and lettuce for the winter.
Before you decide if you want to shop or do some DIY, take a look at the basement or the garden shed. You will be amazed at what inspiration you can find. Just look for everything that a plant can grow. Pallets, trowel pots, old blinds, a broken ladder, construction weapons, a piece of trellis, string, rope: they can be turned into a vertical garden structure.
So while the jury still doesn’t know what approach we’re going to try to finish, here are 5 intriguing vertical garden ideas ranging from simple to sophisticated.
Traditional garden with vertical elements
If you have a backyard garden, plan it out add a lattice and climbing plants on the north side of your plot. That way, the taller plants can’t shade the rest of the garden. I also suggest using a portable, non-permanent stand so you can rotate the station plantations in season.
Here are some ideas for growing your plants vertically in a traditional garden:
Don’t forget to plant lettuce, spinach and other delicate, shade-loving plants that these trellis offer.
Garden planter / patio containers
If you confine yourself to a patio or terrace, try gardening tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, or pumpkin in containers. You can create your own garden with individual pots, layered planters or an elevated garden box. (While they look beautiful, keep in mind that real terracotta pots are very porous and prone to drying out.)
Use organic earth for canning and consider putting heavier pots on the dolls so you can maximize sun exposure, the real key to container gardening. Tie the plants to the tomato cages and hold the stakes as they grow to get unlimited space.
Exterior or interior wall garden
If you have little horizontal space but have a wall or fence that receives 6 or more hours of sunlight, try a wall-mounted garden. They can even be indoors if you have very sunny exposure or if you have light. You can build a wall garden with leftover wood, small pots or even canvas pockets (like an old door shoe organizer). I love this beautiful DIY version made of cedar wood.
As with all container gardens, it can be tricky to keep a walled garden watered and fertilized (even if it’s not overgrown with paranoia).
If you try the garden indoors, consider a system created for this purpose. Unless you plan to mount a crop lamp, I recommend using something with removable containers for each plant so you can bring them closer to a window if necessary.
Indoor herb garden
Windowsill herb gardens are nothing new, but they deserve an honorable mention because what’s better than fresh lettuce or herbs in the winter? In warmer climates, some pallet jars on the kitchen counter or hanging in pots will do the trick, but in colder climates a culture light kit it will almost certainly be necessary.
And I love these ideas how to use IKEA items for an indoor garden!
Another type of vertical gardening, hydroponics, has experienced an increase in popularity in recent decades. Hydroponic plants are grown only in water (without soil) with added nutrients and trace elements. Although this method dates back to the ancient Aztecs, the modern hydroponic method involves a lot of plastics and some synthetic fertilizers, and I have refrained from exploring it for these reasons. (It can also be expensive, as I mentioned earlier).
On the other hand, vegetables grown hydroponically in a greenhouse do not require chemical pesticides. Studies are limited, they have even been found to be nutritionally superior (although some would say they have no taste).
What do you think of vertical gardening? Have you been successful with these or other methods?