Three-story tall green plant wall in Queen's University's Faculty of Applied Science building Beamish-Munro Hall, Kingston Ontario
Photo Credit: Zoe Allen / Wikimedia
The sustainable benefits of gardening, indoors or out, is unquestionable. Growing plants takes space, however, and this is something that is often at a premium, especially in urban areas. Vertical gardening takes a new approach –growing up!
Vertical gardens, also called bio walls are one of the most innovative gardening ideas to come along in recent history. Patrick Blanc was the creator of the first vertical gardens, and the practice has spread all over Europe. Now, in North America, vertical gardens are the newest wave of permaculture and sustainable urban gardening.
This unique concept is adaptable to your patio, balcony, side yard, roof or living You can plant a vertical garden wherever you have a light source, water and about a two feet wide horizontal clearance adjacent to a vertical surface.
This article covers some considerations for building, and growing with, a bio wall. View videos on how build a vertical garden at the end of this article for some visual instruction .
Adequate light is essential for your vertical garden to be sustainable. Make sure you choose plants that thrive in the light you can provide. Vertical vegetable gardens will need at least 6 hours of direct sun, or a lot of close full spectrum lighting to produce a harvest.
Water delivery should be your next consideration. An interior drip irrigation watering system is the ideal. Lacking that, you will need to construct your vertical garden with a drainage system to keep all cells adequately moist without being waterlogged.
Growing medium. A light, fertile medium for growing is desirable. Sterile compost mixed with vermiculite and/or perlite is an excellent medium. It will provide nutrients, maintain an even moisture, but not be too heavy.
Vertical Garden Structure There are many proprietary systems that you can purchase for vertical gardening. If you are in a Do-It-Yourself mood, Video 4 is the best example we have seen for home built vertical garden frames that you can build yourself with basic carpentry skills. This video illustrates an easy to build vertical garden frame with an internal irrigation system for a thrifty, sturdy bio wall suitable for vegetables or flowers.
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