Vertical gardening is a popular concept for gardeners in cities as it offers a great solution for growing in limited space. However, vertical gardeners soon find that the method is far from perfect as there are still some negative issues to tackle. Still, these problems can be solved and avoided if the gardener knows what to do.
There are three common problems associated to vertical gardening and these are:
- dry soil and plants
- leaking water
- heavy containers
In this article, we will explore the possible solutions to these problems.
Dry Soil, Dry Plants
The small containers used in vertical gardening tend to make the soil and plants dry out quickly especially when exposed to full sun.
One solution will be to set up a drip watering system to make sure the soil stays moist but not overwatered. Install a conventional drip irrigation system at the top of your vertical garden. How this irrigation system works is that when water is released, it drips down and waters the top plants first then continues to drip down until all plants in all levels is watered. Excess water is collected at the bottom of the vertical garden. A pump may be installed to recycle the water.
Another solution would be to add vermiculite to the soil. This hydrous, silicate mineral will help retain water in the soil. You can purchase vermiculite at any gardening shop.
This can be a major problem since vertical gardens can drain from all sides (the back, the base, the sides) unlike with traditional potted plants that drain from the bottom and the water can be contained in a saucer. All the water leaking from a vertical garden can damage your fence or wall and make a lot of mess on your deck or patio.
There could be several solutions to the water leakage problem. One is to divert excess water to a specific location using a drip line or PVC pipe attached to the base of the garden.
Attaching a waterproof backing to open garden containers that are fixed to the wall or fence can also prevent water damage. Or you can just affix the planters to a sturdy trellis away from the wall or fence.
The vertical garden’s supporting structure can be strained by the weight of the planters and growing plants. Affixing planters to a weak wood fence is not a good idea.
A solution to this problem would be to use containers that are shallow and require less soil like gutters.
Another option is to hung potted plants. You can also set planters on leaning ladder shelves.
A pallet is a good material to use for a vertical garden. You can place it on the ground and lean it up against the wall.
As you can see, the common problems of vertical gardening can be resolved with careful planning and using proper planting materials. However, there is a way to bypass these problems or totally eliminate them and organically grow healthy plants that are both tasty and delicious.