Is your garden too small to accommodate all the plants you’d like to grow? The answer, says Andy Colqhoun, is to plant upwards.  Vertical gardening uses less space, harvesting is easier and the plants are generally easier to maintain. It’s also a great way to recycle containers, such as plastic bottles or guttering, and having plants growing up your walls can look pretty cool too!
Wall garden

Vertical gardening is nothing new and there are plants designed just for hooking on and going up and up. We traditionally grow tomatoes, squashes, beans etc which are trained to go vertically. But imagine growing a large variety of other plants and not having to be on your hands and knees so much. 

Use old guttering

There are many different styles of vertical gardening that can be done without much effort. We can use old guttering, using them a bit like window boxes and stacking them up. Just make sure there is enough space between them to let sunlight into the plants. Make some drainage holes along the centres so the plants don’t get too waterlogged and this also helps the lower plants receive adequate water.

Or plastic bottles

My favourite is the bottle garden, I think the idea was introduced in Brazil. It’s a great way to use your old plastic bottles. Lay a plastic bottle on its side cutting out a section in the middle a couple of inches at either side. The bottles are suspended on strings. Because of their size, herbs are probably the best things to grow.

Florafelt ‘living wall’ system
There are so many different ideas from using pallets to create a pyramid to the Florafelt ‘living wall’ system  in which you plant into fabric pockets hung on a wall. You can use beams and stand them upright, a boxed stair garden or burlap sacks. The list goes on, there are so many great ideas to make the best use of space. 

Florafelt pocket

Things to consider:

  • Make sure your support system is strong enough to hold the weight.
  • Choose a sunny space for your vertical plants. 
  • Don’t build too high, only to a manageable height to work with.
  • To avoid a build up of moisture behind wall plantings, use a polythene sheet as a barrier.

Andy Colquhoun runs Linden Lea Gardening Services

Feb 27, 2021

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