Look Up! How to Grow a Vertical Garden

Are your flowerbeds and patio containers filled to bursting, yet you still long for more plants? Growing up makes the best use of your space. Vertical gardening has been popular for decades in Europe, and is now becoming a go-to solution here in the U.S. for small-space gardeners or ones who have simply run out of room!

Instead of planting in-ground, vertical gardeners use wall-mounted options, or structures that already exist in the yard. Bonus: many vertical gardens are portable and can be placed anywhere, or taken with you when you move.

You can grow annuals, perennials, or edibles, as long as you have enough sun and great soil (check out our blog post on How to Analyze and Regenerate Your Soil). Really, the sky’s the limit!

If your property is encircled by a fence, consider planting vines and flowers such as clematis, wisteria or honeysuckle and train them to grow upwards. Once in bloom, you’ll love having a living garden wall that can also hide less-than-ideal views.

Kids will love learning how to grow a vertical teepee – which doubles as a secret fort! Any kind of climbing veggie will thrive there – try different beans, which grow quickly and taste great right off the vine. Children are more likely to eat fresh veggies if they’ve grown and cared for them!

You can also repurpose all kinds of items into perfect vertical planters. A hanging cloth or vinyl shoe organizer works well for herbs or cascading flowers and vines. And a shower caddy will hold rows of hardy succulents. Bonus: neighborhood pests will have a hard time finding and destroying your plants!

How about using upcycled pallets, pieces of furniture with drawers, or old stepladders to plant your cuttings? It’s an ideal project for crafty DIYers. Just be sure to drill drainage holes in the drawers, and seal wood surfaces so they don’t rot.

As your vertical garden matures, you’ll need to figure out the best watering schedule and system so your plants don’t dry up and fall out of their niches. Water by hand, or investigate different automatic irrigation systems.

Vertical gardens can succeed in either warm or cooler climates, especially if you plant hardy sedum, grasses or herbs such as oregano, mint and sage. But don’t get discouraged when your living walls go dormant during the winter. They’ll come back!

Be sure to send us your creative ideas for looking up!


Photo Credit: 2ilorg via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: wiccahwang via Compfight cc

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