I love colorful flowers, I love fresh food. Every year I have good intentions, decorating our patio with a few baskets of beauties and planting tomatoes, peppers and herbs in a small area below our 3rd story condo.
And every year the story is the same. The flowers die within a month, a combination of me not watering them and little shade to help the cause. My vegetables never produce because the soil is so rocky and overworked, or my inconsistent watering, or the squirrels decide to run off with any of the fruit.
But this summer is different – my brown thumb is going to transform into green with my vertical garden, I’m sure of it!
Between Brian’s dad building the frame for me, and getting the high-quality flowers, vegetable seeds and garden-ready herb plants thanks to Burpee Home Gardens, I’m already off to a better start than ever before. Although my dream is to have a hobby farm where I grow all my own food and have billions of cats, I love how the vertical garden has become the perfect solution for our small space.
Although I didn’t have to break out the toolbox, I think many of you DIYer’s could create your own vertical garden. Brian’s dad used this tutorial as his guide, and got all of his materials from Home Depot.
Here are a few of my tips for building a vertical garden:
1. Make sure you buy enough potting soil – I used almost all of two (2.5 cubic feet) bags.
2. Don’t pack the soil too hard when you’ve got it laying on the ground. You want to be sure that you will be able to plant the flowers, or sow small rows for the seeds. It will compact as you stand it up too.
3. You could plant all herbs or small plants, but I thought the flowers added to the top and bottom rows of the planter added beautiful color and gave it a nice visual anchor for the eye.
4. If planting vegetables, choose ones that will not have long roots. Since the dirt cascades downward, long roots will “outgrow” the soil. Radishes, herbs and lettuce are good options.
5. Of all things, buy a boot tray to sit underneath the vertical garden to catch dirt or excess water.
What I planted:
*Heirloom Lettuce – in seed tape form. So easy you guys. All the seeds are spaced equally apart on the paper-ish tape and you plant them about 1/4 inch under the soil. The maturity is only about 30 days, so sprouting has already begun. (pictured above)
*Garden-Ready Basil, Oregano, Thyme
*Sweet Basil and German Thyme seeds
*Patricia Radishes – only 25 days to maturity, oblong shape, and a beautiful red color with white tips.
Tomorrow marks two weeks and the garden is already flourishing! Here’s my proud mama picture of the sprouts and blooms:
For patio planters: If you have a sunny area that never gets a speck of shade, these are the flowers I choose and they’re thriving with daily watering:
As I mentioned earlier, all the seeds & plants are from Burpee (I bought mine at Menard’s and Home Depot), my partner for this vertical gardening experiment. I value the story behind their family company which started in 1881, and how they continue to have such an honest business. With all non-gmo seeds and an amazing assortment of organic and heirloom flowers/vegetables, they truly are committed to providing all of us the means to connect with nature. Even the little things that their website provides like the planting videos and “Ask the Gardener” forum were SO helpful.
I’m off to enjoy breakfast on my tiny patio garden, but I’ll be back with an update next month. I see my brown thumb slowly transitioning………
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