19/Sep/2020

This empty Varden Tray structure represents so much potential once planted. Similar potential to our entire venture. When utilized properly, the onlooker can scarcely pick out the underlying structure making the living wall or garden possible but the difference between the potential and the outcome is massive.

Our Vertical Gardening Story:

For the past eight years, we have been designing living walls for restaurants, hotels, and retailers who want to display beautiful ornamental plants in a unique and artistic way.

A few years ago, we noticed a surge in interest in the Varden Living Walls from organic farmers, many in urban areas, who began using our structures to grow leafy greens and herbs on rooftops or small fields. They liked the vertical concept because it saves them precious space and allows them to grow more food, in soil,  without more space.

Seeing urban farmers’ innovative use of our product inspired us. With the sustainability and local produce movement, we’ve become convinced that our focus should be on food. Knowing that nutritious, clean, food access and equality are problems in need of solutions now.

We began tweaking the Varden system to be the best Vertical Garden that everyone can use to start growing their own food even  if short on space. We are there! 

Varden Kit in Action
Varden Kit in Action

 

Varden with leafy greens on rooftop farm

Varden Vertical Garden Kit Ready to Ship
Varden Vertical Garden Kit Ready to Ship


19/Sep/2020
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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!
Comment or email us with your specific vertical gardening questions and we would love to do our best to help you be successful. Vardening is a great way to ad nutritious food to  your regular diet and know exactly how it was grown, what was sprayed on it and to be certain that its fresh. Have a look at our dedicated website vardening.com for more information and to get started.

19/Sep/2020
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www.facebook.com/101186127942684/posts/252206599507302/

Our friends at Elevation Living Walls and Vertical Gardens out in Southern California have put together a fantastic backyard vertical garden in a piece of space where nothing productive was being done. Have a look at the footage that they have provided and see for yourself.

I just couldn’t resist posting this because of the timing during this virus crisis and it’s outcome of home-based self-sufficiency. Not everybody is able to or would want to have a vertical garden this large but it highlights how just about any space can be utilized more productively to grow some of our own food.

As an inventor and product designer this application really gives our Varden product a good showing and I’m very proud to be offering it.


19/Sep/2020
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Have you ever heard of “square foot” gardening or “raised bed” gardening? They are both methods of growing your own food in small spaces to supplement our food with local, nutritious and secure leafy greens, herbs and veggies. Both methods are soil-based, meaning that the growing is done in soil as nature intended, to infuse the plants with the most taste and nutrient levels as only the soil can do.

We are excited about “vertical gardening” as a way to grow some of our food close at hand, while taking up almost zero space. We have coined the term Vardening to describe the practice. This enables people in high density urban areas to grow food on balconies, patios, sides of garages and many out of the way places not possible otherwise. 

Vardening enables soil-based growing with the added benefit of knowing just how the plants were grown and what was sprayed (or not sprayed) on them. Food security is the outcome and vardening lets us harvest at time of peak plant maturity and nutrient levels, while reducing transportation and food waste. 

Kids need to know how food is grown and where it comes from, now more that any time in recent history. We have become disconnected from our sources of food and therefore, control over how it is grown, what is sprayed on it and how long since harvest. Vardening gives control back to all of us and is surprisingly effective for those living in higher density urban areas of the country. 

This is the first bit of info we are putting out on the topic and please sign up to receive all the helpful information we will post on how to vertically garden….. varden.