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Vermont Garden Journal: Vertical Gardening


People are growing plants in the wildest places these days. There are rooftop gardens sprouting up on top of 30 story buildings, container gardens on balconies and fire escapes, and now living green walls in cities, schools and homes.

The green wall revolution coincides with the increased interest in urban gardening. Gardeners are growing everything in green walls. I saw a school once in Queens that had a living green wall indoors to help purify the air. Many common plants can filter off-gasses emitted by paints and carpets. And you don't have to live in a city for it to make sense. I was at the Coastal Maine Botanic Garden last summer and they have a green edible wall filled with basil and cherry tomatoes. In my latest book, Urban Gardening for Dummies, coauthored with Paul Simon, we devote a whole chapter just to vertical gardening.

Space saving is always a good idea and green wall technology now makes it easier for a home gardener to grow up. To grow a vertical garden at home, you can purchase simple kits with pots that hook on a wire screen that can be mounted to a wall or sophisticated planting devices with drip irrigation and fertilizer systems.

You also can make a simple green, wall garden with old wooden pallets. Here's how. Fix any lose boards and remove protruding nails. Staple landscape fabric around the back and three sides of your pallet. Place plants in the one side that will be the top and then lay the pallet horizontal and fill it with potting soil. Plant transplants in the open slats, mixing flowers, veggies and even strawberries. Let them grow on the ground for a few weeks to get established keeping them well watered, then prop up the pallet to grow vertically.

Now for this week's tip. Spread corn gluten organic herbicide on lawns when the forsythia are blooming to kill crab grass seed as it germinates. This herbicide also contains 10% nitrogen fertilizer.

Next week on The Vermont Garden Journal I'll be talking about blackberries. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Pallet Gardens
Wall Gardens

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