Vertical gardening

MisterK(5a)February 26, 2013

Hello all.

Spring is right around the corner, and I thought I'd post a few pictures of the vertical garden I did last year. I use mainly over the door shoe organizer. They are held upright on my fences with zip ties and S hooks. Results were better than I anticipated. Enjoy!

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Salad in the pockets -
Your salad greens look really good, what a great colors.
Great idea especially if one doesn't have much space; or having it right by back door for quick pick.
Must have been also a great conversation piece...Rina

This post was edited by rina_ on Tue, Feb 26, 13 at 23:58

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Gorgeous! Question: Do you put little holes in bottom of pockets for draining, or does the material naturally drain?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:23AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Very clever. A bonus is the screen effect hiding both the fence and the neighbor. Al

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:48AM
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Thanks for the kind comments! These make indeed a great conversation piece. Neighbors peeking out the window, all wondering wth this crazy mans doing!

They make for added privacy, and I've pushed this concept further. I had old car shelter metal poles around, theyre about 10 feet long. I put them along fence poles and tense a metal wire between them. Then planted grape vines and trained them espalier style (so they dont shade the shoe planter!) and im letting them fill out the space above the planter. So fence gets 10 feet tall and produce lots of salad and grapes!

I didnt not punch any holes at the bottom, the material these organizers are made of actually breathers, even though its not a natural fabric, more like polyester or something. The downside of these is they need constant watering, so this year im designing and auto irrigation system for these

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 6:16PM
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heres a picture of the grape setup, its very simple, 10f tall pole of any kind, 2 zip ties, and a metal wire to tense between the poles. A few basic tools help you complete this project.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 6:18PM
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I even did cherry tomatoes in those tiny planters as a test! That was the shoe organizer planter limitation however as production was limited. But as you can see, the fruit is flawless!

Im doing most of this research in order to make urban backyard farming productive and profitable. Ive got 3000sq ft and I must make a living at this, so being creative about how to grow more yield in a tiny space is not really optional.

Ive got about 4 different vertical systems I use or have invented and use. Theyre all very efficient and take almost no space, complement each other, and this year, im out to prove that this can be a very profitable venture to go into, considering produce is sold to consumers and restaurants that is.

I also did lots of strawberries in those. About 500 Temptation cultivar strawberry plants.

If anyone is interested in knowing, the following plants will grow almost as big as if planted in ground and produce almost as much in such a system : Lettuce, carrotts, strawberries, all herbs, onions, garlic.

Im currently testing out Edamame (soybeans), chantenay red cored 2 carrots, and a bunch of other things i can not remember. Smaller yield per unit but 30 times more units per square foot. I think I've got the recipe for successful urban farming :)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 6:30PM
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You have no idea how much I have obsessed over this since I saw this last night. I have already performed a mental inventory of every heavy-duty fabric scrap and usable material (burlap, window screen mesh, etc...) that I have on hand (read:hoarded)

You see, I am an artist, an "I do it, MAMA" person, and a TX Master Gardener. I once ran an urban education/community garden and tried to teach innovation, creativity and practical re purposing. You have no idea of the things we could have done if I had only seen this 3 years ago! I had 3/4 of an acre surrounded by chain-link fence! Our food-bank donations would have been ridiculous (in amazing way).

People like you, who share knowledge like this, are the catalyst to a world of useful creativity!

Thank you!!!

1 Like    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:02PM
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Thank you for your kind words, those are the fuel that keeps me going :)

3/4 of an acre is something like 25000 plants right there! Fences truly are the most underutilized hardware in our society...i dont like fences, so i cover them in food :-p

It is readily apparent that old business models are dying. Here in Canada and in the rest of the modern world. They are destructive for the most part and wasteful of ressources that are not available anymore anyway.

I believe theres massive value in ideas and in creativity. My favority hobby is walking around and finding new purposes for existing things/structures and finding better ways to do things we already do. Needs are unlimited, ressources are limited, but creativity is endless.

Khaled :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:34PM
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Mr K, I just have to post again to thank you for this wonderful idea! I have a deck on front of my house. I live next door to my parents and you should have seen their faces when they saw me hanging a shoe organizer on it! LOL!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:43PM
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cheleinri(z6 RI)

I saw your shoe organizer in another thread and thought I'd see if you posted with more pictures. I have to say, this is one of the most clever things I've seen in awhile. Did you design an irrigation system yet? I wonder if you inspired anyone else to try it.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 10:17AM
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Hi! Thanks for the kind comments. Ours economies are in trouble, time to get those brains to work so we can create new industries and feed our own with quality clean food. Enough with the gmos.

Id love to post more but i only have an ipad which makes it impssible to post. Those shoe organizer planters are small time compared to what i do now. Im working on Monday, ill post some pictures from my office computer. A frames, rose cones, shoe organizers, rain gutters, florida weaved to tomatoes, etc. ive turned it commercial this year and im just getting started! Stay posted, i promise to blow your mind! Our website ingeniusfarms,com will be ready on wednesday, feel free to visit!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 4:53PM
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cheleinri(z6 RI)

Sounds intriguing. I'll look for more and thanks for sharing. Maybe you should cross post to vegetable gardening..? Shame for anyone to miss it. Hope you have good luck with your venture.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 7:50AM
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Hi Khaled,

Looks great. I've seen this idea before and have planned to try it for all my greens (I'm vegan and eat a LOT of greens). I have a very small back patio to work with and 3 cats and 2 dogs that share the space, so this would free up space for my other big containers like eggplants and tomatoes, give everyone more room to hang out and enjoy the patio and keep the pets from getting into them, hopefully. Yesterday I found my kitten laying on top of my container of little arugula seedlings - I think they'll make it though :)

One of my concerns with the shoe organizer, which someone pointed out on another forum, is since it isn't meant for food, it may be chemically treated and would leach out into the soil. It was suggested that it would be fine for non-edibles but possibly not for edibles. Because of this, I haven't done it yet but am considering sewing something similar out of canvas or burlap that hasn't been chemically treated.

Ever since I read that, I've been re-evaluating what I use for containers for vegetables. Do you or anyone else have thoughts on this or is it not that big of a deal?



    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 10:16AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

The same concern crossed my mind, Laura, but it's so difficult to say. There are a lot of ifs. If the fabric is chemically treated in some way, if it in turn leaches those chemicals into the soil, if the plants actually take up the chemicals, if the chemicals are actually toxic in some way, if the concentration is enough to be of any concern, and so on. This particular application is a moot point for me anyway -- during the summer here in NC, I'd have to water every three minutes to keep the plants alive! :) Nonetheless, MisterK's creativity is definitely inspiring, and I look forward to seeing the website when it's up and running.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 11:12AM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Very impressive nice work. I would like to learn for my wind breaker fence.

I like innovative gardening and utilizing available materials.

Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 11:58AM
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I love this idea, especially for the privacy! Those must be some heavy duty shoe hangers. I'm not sure I've ever seen one I thought would be strong enough. I'm going to have to look harder.

Love the 10' grape vine extender too. We have them growing wild all over. The grapes make really good juice.

I tried to get to your website, but I don't do facebook, so I can't get there. Dang it.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Hello everyone!

Havent had time to post since last time but I've got an update for you guys today! You've seen the shoe organizers, i got them from walmart for 9$ a piece. Theyre sturdy as its the 2nd year I use them and they are still in very good condition after spending the winter outside.

I've taken those out again this year and they still perform great! But now I'm focused on a new system made out of plastic rain gutters. I've got about 1500 strawberry plants in those gutters, loads of bush beans, various lettuce types, herbs of all kinds, edamame, swiss chard and more. I've also designed and built and a frame system for vertical gardening.

We are training our tomatoes vertically up a wire, single fruiting stem style!

I also have a new tower system made out of rose cones for larger plants!

Check out the below pics!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Single stem vertical tomatoes

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:49PM
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edamame plants in a gutter!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:50PM
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check out this A frame growing strawberries! It hold up to nine 10 foot gutters!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:52PM
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A vertical tower made out of rose protection cones that cost 99 cents a piece!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Im leaving the office soon and will be answering all questions when i get home a little later! Stay tuned!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:56PM
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like the guttering idea, I picked some up the other day at the big box store as you guys call it, we call it the be green shed, and thought wonder how that would go, didn't buy it, but will keep an eye on this thread see how yours do :)

thanks for putting the pic's up very much appreciated :)


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:10PM
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Khaled, what type of soil did you use in the gutters? Also, for successive years, how will you amend the soil?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 3:07PM
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MisterK, props to you for thinking outside of the box! I want to do some strawberries in the shoe organizer. Can you tell me what type of soil, and additives used (if any). I'm fairly new to gardening, I've just set up several raised beds in the backyard. I'd like to have some strawberries as well, I've never grown them before so any information you have would be awesome.

Keep doing what you do, it's amazing.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 8:31PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I like the over the fence idea most. It is interesting in more than just an idea. It does several things:

-- covers the not so pretty fence.
-- create a growing surface.
-- Being vertical, rabbits cannot eat them.
-- easy maintenance and harvesting.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 8:56PM
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@VivMarble: I use ProMix as a medium. Its a mix of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. Holds lots of oxygen and lots of water yet drains very well. These are the characteristics to look for in a good medium. For the sake of keeping things simple and as organic as can be, the only "additive" I use is composted pelletized chicken compost for ALL my crops, from eggplant to tomatoes, cukes, beans, name it, I grow it. Keeping things simple makes things overall easier in you and more productive, which in turn motivates you to keep growing food. To me, thats number 1.

@seysonn: you are more right than you would think. There are many hidden benefits to using these. Trying is adopting. My only advice is include irrigation from the start and I promise you will have great crops all season long :)


    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 10:18PM
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Thanks for the reply MrK! Looking forward to trying this out. How would/could you include irrigation? I live in TX and would definitely need the help watering.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:52PM
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@VivMarble: if using the pockets, drip irrigation is the way to go. The reason i switched to rain gutters is that it's easier (and cheaper) to lay down a soaker hose along the lenght of the gutters than it is installing one dripper per pocket.

It's also easier to fertilize, I simply spread a thin layer of hen manure pellets on top of the medium in the gutters and let water work it in. The pockets have the advantage of being deeper and being used exclusively for one plant. From my observation, the pockets perform better when properly taken care of. They just dont scale as well.

The fact that they are a dark color also concerns me as far as heat. Im sure performance would be better if I could find some white ones. I just went with what was available off the shelf. The problem with having too many ideas and being one person is not having enough time to test every possible scenarios for every idea/concept. Id be delighted if someone else pushed this further and showed me what came out if it :)


    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 1:57PM
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I just discovered your post a few minutes ago, but I wanted to tell you that this is the coolest thing I have ever seen. Kudos to you for being so inventive and coming up with something so fascinating:)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 2:14PM
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@Maude80: necessity is the mother of all inventions. We should all have access to good food without having to spend lots of money. Im glad if this helps anyone improve their quality of life :)

Thanks for the kind words,


    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 4:27PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


I think you have helped more people than you realize !!

Thank you for the post, pictures and for the time you put into your projects and for helping others..

Very impressive!!


    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 6:20PM
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If you do not have enough space to use the shoe organizer, I saw a post the other day of a lady who used the same concept on a wooden fence. She nailed coffee bags in selected spots and used them just like you have to vertically garden.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:16AM
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i found this interesting idea of hanging landscape fabric in folds over a structure. but i think you can even use an old A-frame ladder fro that. but it could tip :) - so better to bolt it may be? or drive stakes to secure it?

Here is a link that might be useful: living wall with landscape fabric

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 8:33PM
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@loveplants2d: amazing, i dont believe in cornering people with high food prices :)

@charlieboring: great idea. Im all for upcycling. I used to show organizer because i needed to scale up and im aone doing this so anything that saves times is welcome. But nothing beats free containers: :)

@petruschka: living fabric is good for some greens and ornamental plant, however i dont believe they can support a root structure large enough to grow some weight.

Get ready people, growing season is almost upon us! I cant wait! :)


    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 3:49PM
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well, the living wall guy Patrick Blanc is using a weed barrier liner for support - i suppose that could be used for heavier loads?
look up 'Dewitt SBLT6300 Weed Barrier' it is woven black or white plastic that is permeable to air/water and is flexible.
just an idea ...

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 4:20PM
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calbayarea(9 SF Bay/Fremont)

I saw some scrap 6" PVC pipe in a gondola so I fished it out and made some planters out of them. I cut them into 3 ft. sections and then ripped an opening along the length with my skill saw. Plugged up the ends with some scrap wood, glued small rocks to the outside of the pipe and made a little frame out of recycled wood.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 12:14AM
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Great Job! Did you drill drainage holes?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Occasionally a few posts really inspire me and this is one of them.

Khaled, I live in Saudi Arabia and where are you from?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 6:01AM
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Omg! This is the best! I've been thinking of doing some vertical gardening this year, but your ideas completely blow mine out of the water. The information you have shared in this thread really is invaluable to anyone who gardens. Thank you for sharing your time and your wonderful creativity!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 6:31AM
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@Saood: Thank you for your kind comment :) I currently live in Montreal, Canada. I was born here but my parents are originally from Tunisia, which explains my not very Canadian name lol

@EricaBraun: Teamwork is how we'll get somewhere good. Those who control the food system are laughing at us with their 7$ a pound chemical filled lettuces. It turns out we can do this growing thing much better than they can :)

@calbayarea: great design! Bonus points for using free, recycled material! Your system will work better than mine because your planting containers can hold more medium. I gotta find me some cheap tube like yours! Keeps us updated on the performance of the planter i really wanna know how crops turn out! :)


    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 6:54PM
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calbayarea(9 SF Bay/Fremont)

Thank you MisterK,
Well, since I'm inspired to post now I'll show my latest project. A couple of weeks ago someone was at my home and saw my PVC Planters and told me he had a piece of 12" pvc left over from a job and did I want it. I had him cut it into 3 two foot sections. I used a jiz saw to cut a pattern around the top and also to cut several holes. I then used a wet saw and cut a bunch of rocks in half and glued them onto the PCV. The base below the rocks is just marble tile cut into strips. The glue cost me $8, bag of rocks was $5.50. The marble I already had so the total cost for the three planters was $13.50.
Gotta love it.....:)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 2:17AM
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calbayarea(9 SF Bay/Fremont)

Opps, I didn't attach the photo's! OK here they are.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 2:22AM
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calbayarea(9 SF Bay/Fremont)

Gluing on the rocks

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 2:24AM
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calbayarea(9 SF Bay/Fremont)

Finished Planters. I'll plant something showy in the top and some colorful hanging flowers in the holes. Although 90% of my gardening is vegetable I'm going to use these in the front of the house for some color.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 2:27AM
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beautiful! I just love things made out of whatever people thought was trash. Cheap and gorgeous, plus im sure it will be very efficient for growing plants :)

hope you guys are getting ready for the coming season, cuz I am!!!


    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 11:37AM
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I have 3 Tower Gardens now and will get 3 more in September.
I can't believe how fast plants grow in them. I started the 1st tower the 2/4/14 from seedlings and the 2nd and 3rd I sprouted myself.

All that said no plant in this picture is over 3 months old and my family of 3 eat off them everyday. My arugula has started to flower because I could not eat it fast enough and my cilantro looks like celery.

Vertical gardening for the win!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:07PM
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Your structures and plants look so awesome! Really creative using pebbles to decorate. Just looked at your instagram site and all the inspiring pics.

Thanks for making the wheels turn for my future projects.

This post was edited by aztcqn on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 8:08

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:03AM
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My daughter does square foot gardening and also has gutter gardens.

Read about her "pest" problem here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Eggs and Goats

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:13PM
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I just went and bought me a shoe organizer on Amazon. Some of these ideas are sheer brilliance, and I can't wait to go poke around my garage and see if I can't come up with an idea of my own. :) Thanks all for the inspiration!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 11:34PM
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Wow, I love the pictures in this post! I am very interested in vertical gardening, since I have a small patio, and the landlords won't let me dig out a space (despite the massiveness of the yard). Some great ideas here, and everything is so beautiful they way it's done.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 2:29PM
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Great ideas! I especially like what you said about needs being unlimited and resources limited and creativity endless :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:43PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

This looked like a great idea until I thought of filling all those pockets with soil. Then what happens in winter? Do they all have to be taken down so as not to 'drown' the soil in the pockets? And how do you amend the soil after harvest? New soil each year? Maybe it's because I am a senior but it just seems a little labour intensive to me. But kudos to you. You are certainly filling a need.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 1:21AM
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Vertical gardens, what a wonderful idea! Just the thing for my elderly, apartment-bound sister who so misses her garden.

Thank you all for posting your variations.

I plan to try:

  1. A rack holding two or three containers that I will set
    in a never-used bathtub, beneath a west facing window with lots of light. I would love to hear from anyone who may have tried this; and.

2. An indoor shoe bag version with 4 or 6 pockets:
a. Roughly how much would each pocket weigh when filled with soil?
b. Can someone tell me of a particular brand and model shoe bag that has worked out well?

... mako202

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 11:13PM
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These ideas are not only yummy-looking but beautiful. I do not think my idea would be so pretty, but you could use all types of containers, anything that would hold soil. How about plastic water and soda pop containers? Cut the bottoms out, turn them upside down and wire or somehow attach them to a vertical surface? With plastic bottles it would be necessary to put something in the bottom to keep the soil in, I guess. Maybe a scrap of landscape fabric or an old piece of denim.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 8:08AM
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I love these! So many great ideas! So inspiring:)
I worked in urban gardening for many years and
still occasionally work with a few local farms.
The only issue I have and it was mentioned up there^ and I don't think it was addressed enough. Please make sure your containers are safe or figure out what you can do to make them safe. Avoiding GMO and big corporations with their big prices, doing all the research and sharing all this information. Wonderful! Seems to me you could take the time to research whether your container is safe and while we are on the subject the soil too! It appears most people here use a good mix but some people reading this thread may pull it out of their yards. Check and see if your city or local university will provide you with testing.
Again Beautiful and Kudos :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:22PM
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If the space is limited, why not plant bambusa textilis 'gracilis'?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 6:11AM
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Very nice you are the man!

Here is a link that might be useful: Types of vertical gardens

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 1:51AM
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Very nice garden! check out some ideas on my page

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 11:31PM
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