Have you heard of a vertical garden? No, it’s not that famous ‘Hanging Garden of Babylon’ from ancient Mesopotamia. It’s a garden that can be built on the wall right in your home. If lack of space has deterred you from growing your own organic vegetables, you can always use one of the walls or even windows to do that. Besides supplementing your vegetable needs, such a garden also adds aesthetic appeal to your home.
Before building a vertical garden, choose the place where you want your garden. It should ideally be a part of the house which gets 6 to 8 hours of sunlight and lots of fresh air every day. Plants do not like to live in a dark and stuffy place, because sunlight and air are essential for their survival. The next step is to decide what type of vertical garden you want. There are many ways you can build a vertical garden depending upon the structure of your house and your personal taste. Here are some basic vertical garden ideas that you can use.
The Hanging Garden
This is a garden that grows right against your wall. The usual method is to fix planters on the wall with nails or screws in several rows and grow vegetables in them. Instead of planters, you can also use rain gutters or any open-top fixtures that are 8 to 12 inches deep. You may also fix several rows of wooden planks or metal racks on the wall and place your planters on them. Just make sure that the lowest row is at least 3 feet above the ground (so you can put planters or pots directly on the ground under them, or have space for your vines to hang down), and the next row is 3 feet above the row below it and so on to give the plants enough vertical space to grow.
After you have got these ready, fill the planters or whatever you have with good garden soil, add compost or organic fertilizers if necessary, and sow the seeds or transplant saplings. There you have your vertical garden. You can even add an extra layer by hanging more plants from the overhanging eaves if you have some, such as tomatoes or strawberries. Don’t forget to water the plants regularly.
The Hydroponic Way
This is not a new concept. It’s actually more than a hundred years old. Hydroponics method makes use of water and mineral nutrients to grow plants without using soil. Amazingly, almost every terrestrial plant can be grown hydroponically. Since the water remains in the system, the same water can be used again and again. As you will be feeding the plants, you will be in full control of the types and amount of nutrients added to the water. As it will be in a controlled environment, it will be easy to get rid of pests and diseases. The disadvantage is that it needs constant monitoring and if something goes wrong, the plants can die quickly.
Some of the other vertical garden ideas include growing climbing plants on an arched trellis, placing planters on window sill and on the perimeter of roof, or simply letting plants crawl/climb up the walls. There are also patented systems that you can buy, such as Grow Wall, Zipgrow towers and Arista Caseto.