Originally published June 5 2015
Planting a DIY vertical garden
by Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews) There are many good reasons to grow your own food. You'll save money while eating healthier, and you'll have the unmatched pleasure of eating flavorful ripe vegetables, fruits and herbs that taste much better than anything you can buy in the supermarket.
You'll also have control over the process, which means you can grow and eat organic food that is free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, plus you'll have the sense of accomplishment that comes from successfully harvesting food you grew yourself.
But for many people who live in apartments or in homes with limited space indoors and out, this may sound like an impossible dream. That's not the case, however, if you employ one or more of the methods known as "vertical gardening."
Vertical gardening is a way to make the most of a limited space and can be a very effective approach for those who have small balconies or patios. The concept isn't new -- humans have employed vertical gardening techniques since the dawn of agriculture.
For example, the early ancient Mayan culture developed a vertical gardening method that is simplicity itself -- they discovered that planting beans next to cornstalks (which, of course, grow vertically anyway) provide a trellis system in which the bean plants could climb the cornstalks while receiving shade from the corn plant's leaves. An ingenious system, and one which some scholars believe helped facilitate the rise of the grand Mayan civilization that came later.
A trellis is one of the simplest examples, and the term vertical gardening simply refers to any planting system that encourages plants to grow vertically, instead of along the ground. Other types of vertical gardening include shelves, hanging baskets, pockets and pallets.
Shelves and hanging baskets are well-known methods, but you may be unfamiliar with the terms pocket and pallet. These too are basic and easy methods -- pockets simply being bags made of burlap or other materials containing plants and which are attached to available walls.
Pallet vertical gardening uses common wooden shipping pallets which are covered on the bottom and sides with landscape fabric and filled with young plants and potting soil. The plants grow in the spaces between the slats and, after getting their roots started while the pallet is laid horizontally, the pallet is lifted into a vertical position. Some wooden pallets can leach toxic chemicals, so it's important to make sure that any you use are clean. This article will help guide you to select a toxin-free pallet for your garden.
Pallet gardens are great for small balconies or for covering up an unsightly area. For a detailed explanation of how to make your own pallet garden (including plans and photos), visit:
The site's example is planted with flowers, but the same principles can easily be adapted to growing herbs, fruits or vegetables.
Choosing the right plants for your vertical garden is the key to success -- you'll need to take into consideration how much sunlight is available. Also, some plants are better suited to vertical gardening techniques than others.
Plants that thrive in vertical gardens include lettuce and other greens (for spaces with limited sun exposure), peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beans and potatoes, to name a few.
There's nothing complex or expensive about vertical farming, and there are several advantages over traditional gardening techniques as well. Vertical gardens have less insect and weed problems, and what weeds and insects may appear are more easily dealt with.
It's also easier to harvest from a vertical garden -- very little stooping or bending over is required. Vertical gardens are also a great way to brighten up your balcony or patio, or to block a boring or ugly view.
Most vertical gardens, such as shelves and pallets, are also portable, which can be an advantage if you have to move or if the plants need protection from severe weather.
There are just too many good reasons to begin planting your own vertical garden, so why not get started now?
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