Friday, June 1, 2012

Easy Vertical Garden

When my daughter was a baby I used an over-the-door organizer to hold her diapers, as well as other necessities.  Once she was potty trained, however, that organizer became pretty much useless.  I rolled it up as placed it in storage.

But now it's back.

I don't like leaving things to sit around, just taking up space, and I've wanted a vertical garden for quite some time.  The way I saw it, I could deal with both of these things at the same time.  A very easy, even-an-idiot-can-do-this garden setup was right in front of me, and it was needed.

See, the house I'm renting is surrounded by way too many trees.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to live in a forest.  Even in a forest, however, I'd like to have a small area surrounding my house cleared so that I could feel the sun shine on my face.  My current yard is bathed in shade, shade, and more shade.

Not so good for growing food.

A vertical garden, however, would help me make use of what little sun does hit my yard.  Vertical gardens are great for packing more plants into a small area.

I gathered my supplies.

Since I was doing container gardening, I bought a bag of potting soil in order to retain moisture.  I mixed it with the topsoil I already had.  While I would have liked to have used the compost I've been working on, it's filled with black walnut pieces, so I couldn't take the risk.  The only other things I needed were the organizer, a garden spade, and the plants themselves.

Easy, right?

Because my vertical garden needed to hang on a door, I had to fill the top storage tier first.  There's no way a shorty like me would be able to fill that tier if it was already hanging!  The top section was filled with a single marjoram transplant.  Once that was completed, I hung the organizer on the door of my shed and continued filling the other three sections with dirt and plants.

I actually had to grab a camping cooler to stand on so that I could take care of the second tier, as well as the third.

I did say I was short, after all!

At the moment this isn't much to look at.  It'll fill out once the new plants are used to their environment, however.  Also, you'll notice that dirt is flowing over the sides.  Mulch should hold that in place, and since I'm about to trim the grass surrounding my cinder block garden, I'll have plenty to work with.

As you can see, not every plant in my vertical garden is edible.  My daughter wanted pink flowers, and I had to admit that they'd help brighten the area up.  They may also call butterflies and hummingbirds!

The lowest tier is filled with strawberries.  I decided that I wanted more of them, since some unknown animal (probably a squirrel) has been absconding with the strawberries in my daughter's garden.  You can see runners hanging below that lowest tier, as well.  Strawberries like to use this as a propagation method.  If I can figure out an easy way to hang a couple of tiny pots of soil from the vertical garden, I can help those runners become new plants!

You'll notice that this is a very, very simple structure.  There's no self watering system.  The way I see it, I don't need one, so why do it?  If I did want one, however, it'd be very easy to connect some basic drip irrigation tubing.  It could even be hidden from view by using some t-connectors to place individual 1/4 inch tubes at a level with each tier, then cutting an itty bitty hole into each of those levels to allow the tubing to enter through the back.

So much can be done with such a small amount of effort and money.  I now have strawberries and herbs (there's parsley to the left of the flowers on the second tier) growing in a very small space, thanks to something that was sitting around, taking up space, for a year!

With inspiration and imagination, anything is possible!

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