vertical and hydroponic gardening

Often people complain of being unable to grow fruit, veg or flowers in their gardens or back yards, because of lack of space, or lack of suitable patches of soil.

A simple remedy to that can be to use a wall. Ideally this should be south facing to catch most of the sun, and reasonably sound and strong.

With a wall, you can do what’s called vertical gardening. I’ve seen this done with tarpaulin type material, with a bunch of pockets attached to it, I’ve also seen drawings and pictures for clever systems using guttering, and today I saw this plan using plastic bottles, on the low tech magazine site – which is a good visit for anyone interested in sustainable technology, worth noting also their link to this page on mini greenhouses.

When one is considering any kind of vertical gardening, one might as well as consider hydroponics, which relates to a method of supplying plants with all the nutrients they need through water, I guess that large scale hydroponic growers only use water, no soil at all, but in my case I’d prefer to use soil, and just enrich it through the judicious addition of plant feeds into the water.

Basically, you build your wall of pockets, bottles or guttering, and then make sure you have a way of channeling water, catching and filtering run-off (use rockwool) and then storing the water in a reservoir from where it can be pumped back to the top of the system to maintain the cycle.

There is an issue for those of us who dont have, or dont want electricity in/on our gardens, which is how to power the pump. The answer would be to use something like a solar panel to power it, possibly feeding a deep cycle battery which could be attached to the pump.

For a simpler method of solar powered pumping, see this from CAT.

I have seen this kind of gardening, in one form or another be suprisingly productive, particularly for things like herbs, and some kinds of flowers. I must confess to have not seen it used with veg yet, but I dont see why it shouldnt be, I grew salad in a gutter last year, which worked very well.

Probably wouldnt work for potatoes I suppose…

I managed to get out on the allotment for a couple of hours today, what a great time this is, as spring approaches and the land begins to prepare itself.

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