Kris and I are lucky to have some green space (albeit slightly larger than a postage stamp) surrounding our house, and from the time we moved in in December 2001, we have planned many ourdoor projects that utilize this space: a small deck and a brick patio, several raised beds, a DIY pond project, a container garden, expanded edibles beds… and this year, realizing that there just wasn’t that much space left (well, we have two doggie girls, and we have to leave them some room to do their business!) we decided to go vertical.
It is still in the experimental stages – Kris and I constructed this box back in April and it still needs some tweaks (specifically when it comes to even distribution of water) but we are getting some nice looking greens growing from it, so it seems to be working on a pretty basic level! Here’s how we did it:
Kris bought some boards and constructed this case – about 5 feet tall and 2.5 wide – and divided it into three sections. The backing was left open, but with wooden slats placed about 2 inches apart. The dividers were placed in at an angle to keep the soil from coming out, and a hole was cut in the middle to insert this wire mesh tube through the middle the case. The hole is also cut in the top of the case. We lined the sections with coconut husk fiber and then inserted this mesh tube. The tube was then filled with river rocks.
A top soil and compost mixture filled in to each section.
Another layer of the coconut husk fiber to cover the soil. With a razor, we cut small holes into the fiber to insert the seedlings / seeds.
Landscape fabric was stapled on top of the frame, and wooden slats were screwed into the frame . We cut holes in the fabric to match the holes beneath in the cocout fiber.
Seedlings inserted! then we propped up the frame, and secured it to the fence. No soil spills!
The seedlings were started indoors awhile before, and we just transplanted them into the vertical frame. We used the same salad green mixture that we put in the adjacent bed. The hope is that the plants will grow out and then up, filling in the blank spaces with greens. We are planning some additional planting in this bed so that we can have a staggered harvest (Kris and I love salad!)
The only thing we have noticed is that the watering tube (filled with river rocks down the center) does not distribute the water as well to the seedlings on the far right and far left. The water also tends to flow out the back of the frame. So, some minor tweaks are needed.
This concept of the “living wall” is so amazing to me – mixing function and art. If you are interested, there is LOTS of fodder online:
Inspiring Vertical Gardens for Small Spaces, Low Impact Living Blog
Patrick Blanc’s “Vegetal Walls” – true works of art- so beautiful!
I want to take this idea and RUN with it…
We tend to focus so much on our edible gardening, but over the weekend, we planted some ornamentals – I got these foxgloves and corabelles at the nursery. They are a nice addition to the front yard where we have some gladiolas and lilies preparing to bloom.