Introduction: Make a Vegetable Mural, Frustrate Rabbits

Picture of Make a Vegetable Mural, Frustrate Rabbits

Originaly created to create an educational, yet subversive, living sculpure outside of a grade school cafeteria, this self buttressing  vertical salad bar creates conversations about healthy food choices and increases accesibility for those that might otherwise have limited access to traditional gardens and it frustrates rabbits.

Step 1: Materials:

Picture of Materials:

What you will need:
Livestock panels- 2, they measure 16 feet long by 36 inches tall; availible from farm supply stores
Treated posts- 3 eight foot long 6x6 posts for each pair of livestock panels that you use
Barrier fabric-  16 feet by 8 feet, the fabric is used to line the space between the two steel livestock panels that provide support for the soil medium  and plants, we used woven weed barrier fabric
Soil medium- 24 cubic feet of  a lightweight soil medium such as BM-2 or a mixture of 20% vermiculite 60% coir and 20% compost
soaker hose- 16 feet
3/4' fencing staples
plants- varieties of vegetables, drought resistent plants get planted towards the top

Step 2: Layout

Picture of Layout

Using a gardener's layout tool (garden hose) make a straight line with the hose, keeping in mind the sweep of the sun. Determine where you want the first post to go and make a mark on the ground. Measure along the hose seven feet from the location of the first post and place another mark on the ground. Repeat, to determine the placement for the thrid post.

To aid in visuslizing the form of the wall you may curve the hose between the marked post locations.

Dig holes 3 feet deep at the three marked locations for the posts, place the posts in the holes and orient them diagonaly to the line origionaly created by the straight hose.

Sandwich one of the panels  between doubled over barrier fabric then bend the sandwich along one side of the three posts in a shallow S shape and mark the location of the posts at the bottom of the fabric. Remove the fabric from the stock panel and cut holes 5  1/2 "for the posts at your marked locations, then slide the fabric over the posts at the cut locations.

Step 3: Frame and Plant

Picture of Frame and Plant

Hold the sides of the barrier fabric up to form a U shaped channel, press one of the panels along the side of the posts and hammer staples around the first vertical element the end of the panel in the middle of the first and last  post. Bend the panel into an S shape ( which provides the buttressing ), add staples in the middle post the repeat the process for the other side of the posts.
Add your soil medium between the two layers of weed barrier fabric. The photo shows the post exposed to demonstrate how the fence is attached with fencing staples; following the written instructions the post will be covered by the fabric.

Step 4: Plant Your Mural!

Picture of Plant Your Mural!

To plant your mural, cut a horizontal slit along the upper 1/3 of the cell, and insert a plant, seedlings work best; lettuce, herbs, chives etc. We were less succesful with seed. Keep drought resistant varieties towards the top.
Add a soaker hose to the top of the wall and cover with a 1/2"- 1' of compost . Grow, give your friends salad plates and encourage them to start at one end of the wall and pick a salad by the time they reach the other end. If you plant chives, snip the flowers add to vineger to make chive vinegar for your salad. Add more posts and fencing to make a living fence,
and enjoy frustrating the rabbits.

Comments

CatTrampoline (author)2012-05-22

I love this; it would make a great kitchen-herb wall as well as a salad wall. Edible flowers could even be added for extra color.

You must have short bunnies at your school - the rabbits here can easily reach lettuce in a 10-inch tall planter (I think they jump into the planter).

bmake (author)CatTrampoline2012-05-22

We are going to plant Nasturtiums, an edible flower, across the top.
As built, both sides of the structure are plantable so that with a little consideration both sun and shade loving plants can be planted on opposite sides.

CatTrampoline (author)bmake2012-05-23

That sounds outstanding! You got my vote yesterday.

caitlinsdad (author)2012-05-22

I'm from the city. In what way does this frustrate rabbits? Is it deer-proof too?

bmake (author)caitlinsdad2012-05-22

The tender lettuce is beyond the reach of the rabbits, but, alas, it is the perfect height for deer... Another plus... no voles

cerene (author)caitlinsdad2012-05-22

I'm guessing it's because its too tall for the buns towards the top. So be sure to plant things rabbits dont like towards the bottom, or plant things you dont mind them munching, like clover or even dandelion, which is great to eat too.

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