Grow Up and Out: Setting Up Your Vertical Garden

If you love tending to plants but you don’t have the luxury of an expansive space, gardening up is your secret weapon to satisfy your green thumb and get the most out of a small space.

Vertical gardening offers easy solutions for growing plants in a compact space. Although a relatively new concept, this gardening technique is becoming more and more popular among novice and seasoned gardeners alike due to the incredible benefits it can give. For one, it allows tending to several varieties of plants without taking up too much space. It also entails less soil preparation and digging and demands minimal water use. More importantly, unlike the traditional way of gardening (with long horizontal rows on the ground) where plants are susceptible to aggressive weed growth, pests and diseases, vertical gardening minimizes these common issues, thereby allowing plants to grow healthily.

If you’re ready to enjoy the aforesaid benefits, below is a simple guide on how you can set up your own vertical garden.

Pick a wall

Start by picking a wall for your garden. If you have a wall that has an ugly surface that you wish to cover up, this will definitely suffice for the project. Keep in mind, however, that your plant selection will depend upon the wall you pick and the amount of sunlight it receives. Thus, if you have a specific variety of plants in mind, pick a wall that can provide them with the best growing conditions.

Create a frame

The basic support system of a vertical garden wall is a panel composed of a main frame, plastic sheeting and fabric. Setting up a sturdy frame will make it easier for you to take down plants.

The best materials to use to build the main frame are PVC pipes and four way joints, as they are light and they allow water to shed properly. Avoid using metal as the additional weight of this material can put a strain on the wall, or wood, as it is susceptible to moisture and rotting. You can build the whole frame setup before hanging it on the wall or you can simply piece the parts together directly on the wall.

Lay the plastic sheeting and fabric

Once the frame is set, attach the plastic sheeting onto it. The plastic will serve as a backing for the fabric and will also prevent water from getting on the wall. Next, lay at least two layers of fabric on top of the plastic using galvanized screws or stainless-steel staples. You can use just about any type of fabric that can retain water without rotting. Since this layer is where your plants will live as it is responsible for holding the water for them, make sure that you secure it well on place so that it won’t come off.

Set up the irrigation system, fertilizer injector and water filter

In order for your plants to grow well on the wall, you need to have an irrigation system in place that will provide moisture to the fabric. You can create this system out of poly tubing with lock fittings and emitters, which you can purchase from an irrigation supplier. Place the tube on top of the panel and use the emitter to drip water down. When attaching the irrigation system, opt for stainless-steel hardware to avoid corrosion. Then, add a fertilizer injector, which is a simple valve that will send liquid fertilizer to the irrigation system, and a water filter to keep the circulating water clean. Connect the system to a power source to see if it is working properly.

Pick your plants

As mentioned earlier, when picking plants for your vertical garden, consider the amount of sunlight your chosen wall receives. Equally important is to consider humidity, wind and cold to ensure that you will be able to grow greens that can endure such conditions. If you are just starting out with gardening, pay your local nursery a visit to get an advice from a seasoned gardener about which plants are appropriate to grow on your vertical garden.

Insert the greens

The next and final step is to integrate the plants on the wall. Do this by making horizontal cuts on the fabric layer using a razor blade. Remove as much soil as possible from the plants’ root balls to prevent root rot before inserting each of them into the pockets you made. To secure the plants in place, staple the cloth to the plastic backing, making a semicircle around the root balls.

This gardening advice was written by Ericka on behalf of Steel Buildings UK ,Ericka is fond of home-related topics and tirelessly shares her knowledge by writing and publishing helpful articles online.

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