Vertical Gardening Provides Options

March 22, 2019 GMT

Thankfully, spring has finally arrived! If you haven’t started thinking about what you are going to grow and how, now is the time.

There are about a gazillion different ways to grow plants. You can grow them indoors or outdoors. You can grow them in the ground, raised beds or pots. You can hang them or set them on your porch. If you are short on space and have a balcony, you can create a vertical garden.

If you search the internet, you will find vertical planters made from a variety of items — trellis, ladders, file organizers, wooden pallets and even gutters. Let’s look at some different options.

Bonnie Plants shows a trellis built by using two by four sections of wood and hardware cloth. This is ideal for plants that climb or vine, such as cucumbers, squash, peas and climbing beans: bonnieplants.com/gardening/vertical-gardening-ideas

Another great idea from Bonnie Plants is to repurpose a utility or shoe rack. Attach the rack vertically to a wall. Line the shelves with plastic and poke small drainage holes in it. Lay moss on top of the plastic. This would be good for plants that don’t mind being a little thirsty at times. Think yarrow, sage, blue flax, and succulents. Colorado State University Extension has a guide of plants with low water requirements: extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/native/FrontRange.pdf

Or, you could just set small planter pots on the rack above and not have to worry about whether the plants dry out too quickly or not.

If you want to try a wooden pallet, then first decide if you are going to put edibles in it or not. If so, be sure to check the pallet for an HT stamp. This means it has been heat treated. Otherwise, your pallet may have been chemically treated. We don’t want those chemicals mixed into our food.

The University of Wyoming Extension has a small fact sheet that says you can use a recycled pallet but you will want to kill any bacteria that may be lurking inside the wood. They suggest scrubbing it down with a bleach solution, then soapy water and letting it dry.

The next steps would be to staple landscape fabric to the back and bottom of the pallet, then pour potting mix in through the slats. For additional details: uwyo.edu/barnbackyard/_files/documents/magazine/2014/winter/010114bbverticalplanter.pdf

Bonnie Plants has yet another vertical garden design idea that looks similar to a small step stool to me. They give you the instructions and material list. This is a beautiful design, but does look as though it would take a bit of money, time and effort: bonnieplants.com/gardening/how-to-build-a-vertical-herb-planter

However you decide to arrange your garden this year, the most important thing is that you plant something! You Should Grow has more vertical garden ideas: youshouldgrow.com/diy-vertical-garden-ideas

Kelley Rawlsky has an M.S. in horticulture and is the director of Bringing People and Plants Together, an organization dedicated to bringing horticulture education and therapy to the community. For more information: PeopleAndPlantsTogether @gmail.com or follow us on Facebook.