Not all homes are designed to have enough space to house a traditional garden. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your green thumb. Besides, plants make your home much better. They liven up the environment and make it healthier as well. If you find yourself in this situation, follow the steps below on how to grow a vertical garden. And soon enough, you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Vertical gardens aren’t like your typical garden which is planted on the ground and needs a lot of soil. Because the plants are stacked on top of one another, you don’t need as much space or soil.
The good news is, vertical gardens also come with some great advantages. One of these is they’re at less risk of pests, disease or getting damaged. By hanging vertically, they also get more air flow. This makes them dry faster after watering or rains. Thus, reducing the risk of disease or mold growing.
Another advantage is that they don’t get stepped on. Whether it’s by foot traffic, animals or the kids playing, traditional gardens can be burdened by damages from all the things happening on the ground.
Decide What Kind of Garden You Want
The first step in growing your own vertical garden is to decide on the type of garden you want to grow. Vertical gardens come in many varieties. This is what makes them incredibly creative. It’s all up to how you want to house your garden.
The most common type of vertical design is your container garden. Here, you can decide whether you want to use pots, small boxes or crates stack over one another. Depending on where you put them, you can use all sorts of containers.
Another popular choice are pocket gardens. Unlike containers where the plants sit up over some ledge or structure, pocket gardens have your plant inside pockets. Here, you can use shoe holders or other objects that have pockets to house the plants.
Choose the Location
Once you’ve decided on the type of garden you want to set up, it’s time to decide where you’ll put your garden. Depending on the design of your garden, you can use a wall or have it standing on its own.
The most important things when deciding on location is to pick one that receives a lot of sunlight. Most plants need a lot of light. Ideally, an area that gets at least 6 hours of sun exposure would be great.
The good news is, if you can’t find a location that gets that much sun, or want to grow your vertical garden indoors, you can pick the right plants for that job.
Plants that are partial shade or full shade work best because they don’t need a lot of light to thrive. Partial shade plants need 3 to 6 hours of sunlight, while full shade plants only need less than 3 hours a day.
Pick Your Plants
We touched on the plants in the previous steps. But now, we’ll look at the other factors involved with choosing the right kinds of plants for your vertical garden.
As mentioned above, the amount of sunlight your garden gets will play a part in determining what plants will grow best there.
You also want to consider how much maintenance you want to put in. Some plants require regular watering. Others not as much.
Also, do consider their size and how much space their root systems need. Vertical gardens are better suited for smaller plants and those that don’t require a lot of soil to grow. If you choose a wall, you may or may not need to set up containers depending on the type of plant you get.
If you don’t like to plant and replant every year, go for perennials which grow on their own. In contrast annuals need to be planted year in and year out.
The best part about choosing the types of plants for your vertical garden is you get to pick how you want it to look. You can go with flowers to brighten up your home. Ferns are another way to add more greens. Plus, they don’t require as much maintenance as flowers do.
If you like to grow edibles, herbs are a great way to go. They take up very little space, are low maintenance and can be added to your recipes and meals.
If you want to give your home more character you can also go for woody plants like trees or shrubs. With the former, you can pick dwarf fruit trees as well if you want to enjoy certain kinds of fruits fresh.
Prep Your Garden
After you’ve made all the decisions above, it’s time to get to work. The first thing with prepping your garden is to prepare the containers. If you chose pots, crates or pallets, then you can buy them or make use of used ones. Do it yourself containers are also another option.
The important thing with the container is to make sure they’re solid and don’t give way. Also make sure they’re properly balanced or hung. This makes your garden safe.
In addition to the structure, make sure that the containers allow for excess moisture to drain out. This reduces the risk of excess water that can lead to disease.
When the container is ready, it’s time to add potting soil. Like all gardens, the quality of your soil is very important. You want soil that’s rich in nutrients.
In this part, you also need to decide the order of your plants. Here, it’s important to choose the right plants that play nice with one another. Some plants grow better side by side because one feeds off the other in some way. Similarly, some plants should never be placed beside one another because they’re antagonistic.
Finally, you also want to consider how you vertically stack the plants. Ideally, the plants on top are those that don’t need as much water. Leave the bottom spaces for plants that like more water.
The reason for this is that when you water the plants above, there will be excess moisture that trickles down to the plants below it. This way you don’t over water the plants at the bottom.
Create an Irrigation System
To help keep plants moist so the soil doesn’t dry out, it’s a good idea to set up an irrigation system. This allows your container plants to receive the water that they need.
Irrigation systems make it easier to make sure that all the plants get enough water. It also reduces the frequency you need to water the plants.
The biggest advantage of irrigation systems is that they distribute the right amount of water to the plants. You can also choose ones that have timers and other controls so you don’t need to do the work physically.
This cuts down the amount of work you need to do. And, it also makes watering a wall or vertical setup easier.
Fertilize Your Garden
Don’t forget to fertilize your plants. Depending on the type of vertical garden you choose to go with you may or many not be able to do this by hand. A lot depends on the design, how high it goes and how much work is needed.
If you can’t do it by hand, or it isn’t practical, you can set up a fertilizer injector. This uses your irrigation system to feed fertilizer to the plants. It reduces the manual work you need to do. And, will let you better control the delivery of fertilizer to your garden.