On a frigid Saturday afternoon in January, Deirdre, Imran and I decided to test our green thumbs and build vertical gardens. But rather than just work on our own, we decided to kick it up a notch and turn this project into a party by adding food, drinks, music and friends into the mix.
We figured we would make two types of vertical gardens- a pallet garden and a pocket garden. We found these designs to be easy for beginners and less expensive. You can find pallets at shipping/receiving centers and warehouses. Most likely if you ask for one, they will give it to you, if you're nice. I also saw pallets for free on Craigslist, but they were too big to fit in Deirdre’s car, so we had to ask a local warehouse. For the pocket garden, we opted to repurpose a pocket shoe organizer, kind of like this one from Target.
Seeds are about $1.50 per packet and I got a bunch of herb seeds. Perfect for cooking! If you wanted to be even more thrifty you can just plant seeds and wait for them to grow, which are cheaper but takes a while. Or you can get plants donated from friends or kindred spirits, which Deirdre was so kind to break me off a few pieces of her pothos plants.
I also decided to do a last-minute bonus project and make a terrarium in a jar. This is one of the easiest and most fun projects since it’s low maintenance and allows you to be really creative. To start, I went to the local garden store, Natty Garden, and picked up succulent plants and a bag of small pebbles. I included their costs in my total $100. I also wandered around to find natural items I could add to my micro landscape. I had a tiny shell I smuggled in from Hawaii several years ago and a piece of pine tree from a discarded xmas tree on the street.
You can find instructions for these projects and more pics below.
All in all, we had a great time tinkering, digging, and chatting. These projects were easy, fairly quick, and inexpensive. More importantly, it’s fun to do with friends, brings nature indoors and adds a beautiful aesthetic to your space.
I hope these projects work out for you if you give them a whirl. Let me know if you do! Be sure to leave your questions and comments in comments section. And feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks and have a great day!
1. Sand down the pallet to get rid of rough edges. It's easier if you lay the pallet down flat. You can also treat and paint the wood, but I like the natural worn-out look.
2. Staple the landscaping paper to the inside, bottom part of the pallet. Figure out which was is top and where you want your plants to sit. I left the second from bottom empty since I'm hoping to grow spinach and arugula which would grow up. Don't be shy with the staple gun. Think of each staple stitching the landscaping fabric to the pallet. (Oh, special shout out to Holstee for letting us borrow their staple gun!)
3. Place the pallet on top of the drip tray. This is to catch water after watering the plants. You may be able to find one at the garden store that is the width of your pallet, but I just made mine from folding a long piece of cardboard and lining it with a large plastic bag. A tall kitchen trash bag would work well here too.
4. Add soil. And one layer to see if you have an leaks from the landscaping paper. Staple those shut. Add more soil.
5. Plant your plants. Be sure to give them space to grow. I did three per section.
6. Be sure to add your spacer, to protect your wall from the pallet.
7. Water your plants again to check for leaks.
1. Find a place on a wall that gets light. Since I'm planting herbs, I need more direct light than I do for the foliage in the pallet garden. Affix the curtain rod to the wall.
2. Hang the pocket shoe organizer on the curtain rod. My organizer came with hooks. If yours didn't you can use s-hooks or maybe shower curtain hooks.
3. Put the spacer between the pocket garden and the wall. The curtain rod will provide some space, but the bottom will naturally gravitate towards the wall, so you need to add a spacer. I took a piece of cardboard the width of the pocket garden, folded it and attached to the wall with thin nail. See image below.
4. [OPTIONAL] Add pebbles to the pockets if you're using them for drainage when watering. The shoe organizer I bought is made of a semi-permeable, breathable material, so I opted out of using pebbles.
5. Add soil to 1/3 of the pocket volume. Add your plants or seeds, then add soil to 1/2 the pocket volume. I decided to fill every other pocket because I didn't want it to be too heavy, and I wanted to see how it grows out first before planting all the pockets.
Written by: Erum Azeez
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