Onward and Upward with Vertical Gardening

gardening ideasOften, gardeners in urban settings or those with small suburban yards feel the frustration brought on by the inability to grow as many vegetables, flowers or vines as they would like. One way to increase the available gardening space is to utilize trellises, posts, walls, arbors, wire or stacks of just about anything you can imagine to add a vertical element to the garden.  Going vertical is no longer restricted to traditional climbing plants such as ivy, grape, honeysuckle, bougainvillea and the like, now methods have been tested that allow large fruiting plants, such as cantaloupes and watermelons to grow skyward as well. For those plants that can’t grow up a trellis or wall themselves, the containers and planters they grow in can be placed on support structures that make the climb for them.

It is our intention to bring you as many pertinent ideas, videos, how-tos, articles, photos  and information that give you the ability to increase the growing area of your garden by incorporating insights to using the vertical dimension in your gardening efforts.

How to Use this Site

We try to incorporate pictures and videos into each post, by browsing through the vertical gardening photo galleries and categories you can find those ideas, posts and projects that strike your interest.

A initial segment of each post or article will appear on the main page, simply click on the Read More button to see the entire entry.

Your Contributions are Welcome

If you have anything you would like to offer to add to this site, just post a comment or send us a message through our contact page. We welcome any photos, ideas or guest posts relevant to the site.

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Anatomy of the Plant Distribution in a Vertical Wall Garden Design

One of the questions that frequently arises when the discussion turns to a particular vertical garden wall design is “What are all those plants growing on the wall”? Another question is “Is there any specific order inn which the plants need to be arranged”? The Urbanarbolisimo design firm of Alicante, Spain was kind enough to share one of their projects with the general public through a Creative Commons License. The large photos below are all from the article at their site, but it is in Spanish. This project was a collaboration with two other Spanish firms, Alijardin and Alicante Forestal.

The wall adorns a terrace, and plants can be protected from cold weather by closing a sliding glass door which opens onto a sunny porch. Many of the plants used are tropical, and can’t be left unprotected, even though Alicante is located on the Mediterranean Sea in plant hardiness zone 10. The climate there being, of course, a Mediterranean one, lower humidity levels are to be expected for much of the year.

Variety Characterizes Vertical Garden Wall in Alicante, Spain

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Orchid Shows Vertical Walls Exemplify Patrick Blanc’s Work

Patrick Blanc’s visions of what the urban vertical wall (mur vegetal, as he describes it in his native French) can become when adorned with a variety of exotic plants was once again on display at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in New York City. Orchids, ferns, epiphytes, and other exotic plants put on a spectacular show, transporting visitors into a near-fantasy realm of color, texture, and light and shadow. To get a better feel of it, be sure to click on the little wheel symbol beneath the viewing window and increase the resolution of the video.

The theme of the 2012 Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Gardens. As explained in the video, orchids growing in concert with many other plants on walls mimic the biodiversity of their natural settings. It is often remarked that those who excel in growing plants have “green thumbs”, but Patrick Blanc’s expertise is so great even his hair is green!

The 2013 Orchid show is coming up shortly, for those of you who will be in NYC and have an interest, visit www.nybg.org

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The Garden Stick Vertical Gardening Tower

The Garden Stick Vertical Gardening Tower

Vertical Farming Technology Comes to the Backyard Garden or Urban Patio

The Garden Stick came about as a means to efficiently grow strawberries for a large u-pick farm, the Fuller’s Farmers Market in Davie, Florida, which is located just outside Ft. Lauderdale.

This 66″ tall vertical planter, with space for 14 plants, and taking up only 2 square feet, worked so well in their growing operation, the decision was made to sell it to the general public as well as other commercial growers. Nor is it limited to strawberry production, a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs and ornamentals can be grown with it, a list of some among these is available further on into this article.

To give you a look at the Garden Stick in actual use, I’ve embedded a video from the itinerant John Kohler, a noted raw foodist and gardener from Northern California, came across the farm on one of his road trips, and as he so often does, he just had to stop in at Fuller’s, take a look and record a video of what he found:

As seems to be the case so often, John became a raw foodist due to various health problems, including a life-threatening bout of spinal meningitis. He so strongly believes in growing his own food, he converted his entire back and front yards to gardening areas, primarily raised beds, and he made it his mission in life to help others grow their own food and to spread the word about the benefits of eating a raw food diet.

Whether you share his ideas on what constitutes the best human diet or not, he has made a prodigious number (>750) of videos on various aspects of gardening, and has become a great resource for the home gardener. No matter what aspect of gardening piques your interest, it is likely John has made one or more videos about it.

Installation and Dimensional Specifics for an Actual Garden Stick Planter

Below, another video shows you how to set up a Garden Stick planter unit, and lists some of the options and specs for the various models it comes in – just hit the read more button below to see the rest of this article.

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The Vertical Gardener’s List of Phobias

Just When You Though It Was Safe to Garden…

Phobias List Image for Vertical Gardening
For most of us, spending a day in the garden is a mostly pleasant experience, excepting the few times when major energies need be expended, such as rototilling, digging post holes or removing entrenched, stubborn weeds.

Today, however, we give pause to remember those for whom gardening is fraught with discomfort, or even terror, namely those with a close, personal relationship with words ending in “phobia”. You may have heard mention of several of the items below, but I’d bet few have seen most of them, and several belong in anyone’s compendium of downright weird phobias.

I’ve arranged these various gardening related phobias into several categories. Some phobias can fit into two or more categories, though I’ve one placed each phobia term into only one category. If you know of any additional phobias that pertain to gardening, feel free to mention them in a comment or email me your submissions through the contact page. The more the merrier, unless, of course, the great detective Mr. Monk’s fears and obsessions know a place in your own heart and mind.

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The A-Frame Variation of a Livestock Panel Arch Idea

Rebecca McMahon, a Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent for Sedgwick County, Kansas, demonstrates a slightly different method of setting up cattle panels to serve as vertical growing platforms than the method I described in my post about building a cattle panel arch.

The method she uses is to first cut the panel in half, and then tie the two pieces together at the top with metal hog rings. At the base the pieces are spread out to make an A-frame structure which fits into the raised beds used as shown in the video below. My arch trellis was placed directly on the ground as was secured by t-posts.

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The GSky Smart Wall Cabinet Planter

The GSky Smart Wall Cabinet Planter

Vancouver, BC based GSky, a noted designer, consultancy and installer of large-scale vertical interior (see the image at left of the Whole Foods, NC installation) and exterior living walls has come up with a new product they call The Smart Wall Cabinet.  This new addition to their line of products gives the buyer a self-contained vertical garden wall unit geared to use in residential and office interior environments, at a price affordable to those whose garden wall ambitions may well exceed their limited financial means or budget.

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Live Screen Indoor Vertical Garden Graces BMWi Born Electric Tour NYC Venue

Live Screen Indoor Vertical Garden Graces BMWi Born Electric Tour NYC Venue

A 20′ indoor vertical hydroponic garden spanning two floors will adorn the NYC exhibition hall  for the BMWi Born Electric Tour November 14-18. A super-sized sculptural version of Danielle Trofe Design’s Live Screen hydroponic system will liven the introduction of the BMWi Concept Spyder hybrid car and the fully-electric BMWi Concept car in what constitutes the North American debut for these carbon-fiber-based vehicles.

The Born Electric Tour began in Rome in June, 2012, and continued on to Dusseldorf and Tokyo before its arrival in New York City. BMWi paired up with local designers and businesses in each city the tour enters with an eye on presenting a motif focused on the idea of sustainability and future mobility. The Live Screen self-watering system allows the indoor gardener to grow various vegetables, herbs and decorative plants, a mating of hydroponics and beautiful design.

If you will be in the NYC area during the Tour’s run, and would like to attend, here are the particulars:

BMW i Tour comes to New York City

1095 Avenue of the Americas 42nd Street/6th Avenue (across from Bryant Park)

Open to the public, Free

November 14-18, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

For more information about Live Screen, see our earlier post on the Live Screen growing system.


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