Published on July 1st, 2013 | by Jami Scholl
Vertical Gardening Grows Up in Small Spaces
It all began with The Vertical Garden by botanist Patrick Blanc. He created art with plants on a vertical surface on the exterior of buildings, and has become famous for bringing vertical gardens into the mainstream. Beginning with the installation at the Museé du Quai Branly in Paris in 2007, to his book The Vertical Garden in 2008, Blanc has been installing vertical gardens around the world. This year he will be installing the world’s tallest vertical garden in Sydney, Australia. This truly green building will be 500ft tall and use a hydroponic watering system.
Vertical gardening is beautiful and functional. You’ve probably seen evidence of this across social media, particularly Pinterest, which has dozens of boards related to this beautiful green art form. Vertical growing is not a fringe idea any longer; increased exposure has made vertical growing hip, cool, and accessible to everyone. And in case you don’t have a 500ft building to green, vertical gardening happens to be perfect for small spaces, too!
Some ways to grow food plants vertically include:
1) Trellis. Small plant trellising can grow climbers such as cucumbers, beans, peas and Malabar spinach. Larger plants that can be trellised include pumpkins and other vining squashes, cantaloupe, smaller melons and gourds. Remember to base your container on the ADULT plant to ensure that your climber can continue to grow.
2) Wood Pallets. Recycling, upcycling, and reusing is super important for our environment, and gardens are the perfect place to upcycle many things. Wood pallets are often discarded by businesses after supplies have been delivered for sale– and they are usually FREE also! To make use of your pallet, lay flat on the ground, attach landscape fabric to the back and bottom, then fill with potting soil. Plant with herbs or smaller vegetables and fruits. Wait two weeks before tilting up so that the plants have a good start in root development and don’t fall out.
3) PVC pipe. Larger PVC pipe can be cut with a hacksaw or an easy to use specially designed cutting tool to fit to your space. These can be hung vertically or horizontally then filled with potting soil and plants. Don’t forget the end caps to keep your soil from falling out!
4) Old guttering. Much like PVC pipe, guttering can be hung, although not as easy to cut as PVC. It, too, will need end caps. Remember that if you have more than one hanging horizontally, to create an “overflow” that will feed the next gutter below.
5) Support a business. Don’t have the time, interest or space to do all the d-i-y? No problem! Businesses like Green Living Technologies and Woolly Pockets can help you set up your own vertical garden, and have years of experience and knowledge having saw the genius of plants growing, so that you’ll soon be growing your own vertical gardens!
There are many, many options for vertical vegetable gardening. Another idea is to use plastic soda bottles strung together with fishing line, one above the other. What about that no longer used back-of-the-door shoe holder? That, too, can be used for growing plants. The options are only limited by our creativity.
What other ideas can YOU imagine for growing a vertical garden?