Vertical Gardening 101
There are many good reasons why vertical gardens have become a popular addition to many homes. Not only are these living walls appealing to the eye with their variable sizes and arrangements, but they are also huge space savers. Fortunately, the plethora of options is enough to fit just about any circumstance and personal taste. Whether you are planning on installing an indoor or outdoor vertical garden, here are a few examples that are suitable for a variety of needs.
Hex wire is used in more traditional variations of the vertical garden. To start, make a frame out of wood boards and securely attach the wire to the frame via staples or iron cramps. Then, attach a jute cloth to a solid wall and affix the frame. The jute cloth will hold the dirt in place and allow the water enough space to drain. Once this is done, simply fill in the cloth with dirt and plant to your heart’s content.
There are many ways to incorporate recycled materials in a vertical garden. For starters, you can use an old wood pallet as a frame to hang plants while landscape fabric on the back will hold in dirt and plants. If wood pallets are not readily available, you can also use old wood crates for the same purpose. Simply stack the crates together and use wood planks as reinforcement. Lastly, recycled soda bottles can also be used in a vertical manner. Start by cutting a hole in the bottle and pack it with soil. Complete the garden by suspending the bottles from a clothesline or heavy wire. However, when using plastics for gardening, make sure they are safe to use for planting by checking the triangular recycling symbol.
Hanging planters are one of the easiest methods to start a vertical garden. You can use a variety of materials to achieve a vertical look. For a fast and easy project, cut holes in wood planks wide enough to insert pots. Then suspend the planks with rope, allowing enough space in between for the plants to grow. For a more artistic look, replace the planters with mason jars. Before inserting dirt, however, place a handful of pebbles on the bottom of the jars to ensure better drainage.
Old pictures frames offer a unique way to display a vertical garden. Not only are old frames easy to find, but they are also very affordable. Simply cut out the existing back of the frame and install planting cells to hold in the dirt. If you want to maximize drainage and allow the plants some room to breathe, slant the frame at an angle before attaching to a wall.
When it comes to edible plants, the key element to keep in mind is location and sunlight. Herbs are a great choice if your garden is located in a mostly shaded space. Mints, watercress, basil, and lemon balm are all good selections for low sun areas. Lettuce, radishes, parsley, and chives are great for growing in moderately sunny conditions, while cherry tomatoes, sage, thyme, aloe vera, and rocket grow well in full sun.
After you have selected the best method to achieve your vertical garden, it is time to pick out what kind of plants you want to use. Whether the living wall is indoor or outside, flowers are a good way to creative a decorative element to the garden. Lipstick plant, or aeschynanthus radicans, is colorful plant that blooms in bright red and is suitable for indoor and outdoor conditions. Stephanotis floribunda, commonly known as wedding vine, is also a versatile plant that will add a lot of green and white to your garden. If you need more green, then sword fern, or nephrolepis exaltata, is a great option and grows well in humid conditions.
No matter what kinds of plants you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when tending vertical gardens. For starters, soil quality will largely determine whether or not the garden is a success. Make sure you select the highest graded soil with the most nutrients as the plants will need enough food to last in the limited space. Secondly, moisture will play a large role in how well your plants grow. In vertical gardens, plants tend to give up more moisture than a traditional garden bed, making a regular watering schedule crucial to maintaining the health of the garden. Lastly, ensure each plant has plenty of nutrients, especially after harvesting.