I have been gardening vertically for the last 4 years in an effort to learn the do’s and don’ts of this new gardening method. Along the way I thought it would be useful to try as many locations, mounts, angles, configurations, watering methods and of course…..plant species, as possible. Here is an overview of what I have learned.
My efforts helped me hone the Varden product and it also gave me some practical experience to pass along to new vertical gardeners.
- Leafy greens and herbs are best suited but I did have some success with radishes, small carrots, cherry tomatoes and even edible flowers like nasturtium.
- Varieties like these and more ( kale, spinach, arugula, chard, collards, bok choy, mint, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, lettuce, sorel and parsley )
- I love tending and harvesting while standing up ….. cannot say enough about this feature. ( no rabbits eating my greens )
- It is faster and creates immediate beauty to insert live plugs into the Vardensoks, rather than starting from seed. Seed has been more satisfying for me but I have to admit that the wow factor of planting live 2″ plugs is pretty fun. Im currently starting my own plugs from seed in trays inside, with the intention of transferring them once large enough.
- Our Vardensoks and Pouches exhibit similar growth performance. The mesh is tougher outside ( squirrels cannot hurt them ) and can be used for multiple seasons, while the paper pouches are perfect for 2-3 month crops outside or longer runs indoors. The pouches are cleaner and swap out for crop rotation easier too.
- Many have asked if they can water without our integrated drip irrigation??? Our drip system works very well. However, watering other ways is doable and I have done it myself. It does waste water and is not as efficient as the drip. The mesh socks shed weed seeds and other unwanted pests but also shed much of the water topically applied. Topical watering is certainly an option if you do not want to use a hose to connect to the kit. With practice, anyone can get good at watering with a cup, can or spray head. Go for it!
- Our media blend is local compost with peat and pearlite. I love using compost since its has everything the plants need and there are so many environmental and community benefits. If you are filling your own vardensoks, get the best local compost you can. You will see the growth difference and improved taste from higher nutrients in the veggies you eat.
- Mount our wire panels just about anywhere…… I have done it all just to see how it would work. Free-standing on one post or two, directly on a fence, on the side of the garage or even on a post that is leaned against the house or patio wall. They all work and as long as you keep the system fairly vertical, even 10-20 degrees of tilt back, it all waters, grows and drains fine.
- Harvesting is really more like trimming. I give the herbs a haircut when I am cooking and the freshness in my creations is awesome. You can experiment with how much to cut back your varieties in order to keep them growing and feed the family too.
- I have had fun vertically gardening and its not a big time drain. Give it a try and let us know how much you can grow in your small space. Send pics too!