If you’ve never heard of vertical gardening, two things are clear – you’ve never lived in a small space with little or no yard, and you’ve never done The Land boat ride at EPCOT. Originally, vertical gardening was done out of necessity – with no real property on which to plant a proper garden, geniuses with green thumbs opted for containers that could somehow be stacked or hung, taking up minimal space for maximum produce. We did it out of pure lazy. Plus, it turned a blank wall into something almost artistic!
We’ve done traditional gardens before, and our first year in this house, we planted a huge bed in our backyard. After battling bunnies and squirrels, neighbor’s cats and kids, we gave up. It was so much work for so little return. Discovering vertical gardening not only minimizes the risk of half the residents of the Enchanted Forest chowing down on your salad before you pick it, but it’s MUCH easier to plant!
You start your garden with a shoe organizer – the kind you can hang over your door. You may luck into one at a thrift store or a dollar store, but we bought canvas organizers at the Container Store for less than $10 each. If you can’t find canvas, you can absolutely use vinyl or plastic, but you’ll want to punch three or four holes in each pocket for drainage.
When thinking of what to plant, you’ll want to keep in mind that you won’t be able to stake things up very well – like tomato plants. Lettuces work well in this type of garden, as does kale, some edible flowers, and anything you can think that will grow up or in a cascade as opposed to needing additional support. We planted a lot of herbs – chocolate mint, two kinds of basil, oregano, and dill among them. I also put in a couple of marigolds to act as a repellent for some animals and insects, and at the very bottom, we added a petunia, because I love them.
This is our first attempt, but the kids had a great time planting, and since it didn’t take a huge amount of effort to dig holes and plant the garden, we were finished before anyone got bored. We used the over the door hooks to hang the organizers over our fence, but we added rope for additional support.
We’ll see how things go over the next few weeks. We may lose everything, but for a minimal investment, we had some great family fun!