Adventures in vertical gardening


I can tell from my inclinations that it really is an early spring year, as my urgency to get outside and garden prep is much greater this year than at the same time in 2011. The ground never really did freeze this year, and it’s hard to imagine it might start now, though I expect we could get some light snowfall still before winter is officially over. But still, we have milder days – like yesterday – and all my anxieties have boiled over into a physical need to be outside, to work my body, to make myself tough and strong so I can run and cycle and hike all the stress away.Yesterday morning this manifested into a strong desire to build in the garden – inspired by this post: Vertical Gardens and Green Walls among other things I’ve been perusing on vertical gardening.

You see, I’ve got a north facing backyard with very few hotspots. One of those hotspots is the back corner wall of our shed which is right near the back gate, meaning I can’t widen the garden bed there without impeding access to the yard from the alley. So I’ve been thinking of vertical garden possibilities there for awhile, and it turns out that yesterday was the day for action.

$70 worth of lumber and two hours later I had accomplished this:

What is this you ask? It’s a frame that will hold 4.5 inch deep rain gutters which will be filled with dirt and plants. Made from 2×6 and 1×6 cedar boards, and balasted by stakes sunk into the ground – I am thinking that I might attach some hooks to the shed to chain the top half of the structure up and ensure it can’t fall when loaded with dirt and plants – it is sturdily standing at the moment however. My priority – besides providing lots of space between laters – was to ensure that it did not sit *on* the wall because that can cause damage to the building – but create a framework in front of the wall that would mirror the existing bed.

In a couple of weeks I will attach some cheap PVC gutters to the frame and mix a suitable planting blend together for container plants. Because this is such a warm and light spot, I’m planning peppers, eggplants, vining cucumbers (in the lowest rung) which are things I normally have difficulty growing in my not-so-sunny yard. It’s an experiment, really – who knows if it will work?

In the meantime, I am stitching together grow-bags out of landscape fabric to attach to this alley-score door:

This is in a less-sunny part of the yard, and I’m thinking pansies, lettuces and perhaps a hanging fuschia from the top will at least create a spot of visual interest if nothing else.

As you can see from the shots here, the yard is still a bit of a fright, with just the earliest of signs that the light is returning in the tips of fruit tree growth and the bulbs pushing up some green. My next building project involves that box to the left of the door where I will build a new pea-trellis on two sides to replace the old one that was falling apart and looking a bit motley. Plus, my boxes are short of soil – and that will neecd to be rectified sooner rather than later. So many things to do, I’ve got a list that I add to every time I go outside – but new projects and experiments are exciting. I’m hoping that my vision can be as beautiful in reality as it is in my head!

2 thoughts on “Adventures in vertical gardening

  1. From my second story apartment, I’ve been considering such methods of growing some veg again (as community garden plots here can have near decade waits) so I’m excited to hear about your soil mix, etceteras.

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