Introduction: VERTICAL VEGETABLES: "Grow Up" in a Small Garden and Confound the Cats!
''How to solve a problem like cats digging and toileting in the vegetable patch'''''', and growing veg in a very small garden. I needed a solution and the answer occurred to me after watching The CheIsea Flower Show on TV and seeing walls of flowers and herbs. The only thing I had to hand was a hanging pocket shoe store and I decided to use it to grow my plants in. I have included the dates I took the photographs to give readers an idea how quickly the veg grew.
Step 1: Materials Needed
- Hanging pocket shoe organiser /store.
- Pole and attachments ( curtain pole or pipe fittings, screws).
- Strong metal saucepan or utensil hanging hooks
- Compost of a good quality moisture holding type.
- Selection of plants or seeds... e.g. mixed leaf salad, herbs,sorrel, peas, mini tomatoes.
- Piece of wood 2"x2" as long as the width of the pocket store to keep the base of pockets away from the wall.
- Trough planter to catch drips.
Step 2: Attach Pole to Shed or Wall
I attached a strong chrome pole with metal fittings to the shed.
You could use a curtain pole.
Make sure it is at the correct height especially if you want to grow plants in a trough below ( see step 7). This uses the surplus water from the pockets above.
Step 3: Attach Hanging Shoe Store
Use strong hooks or wire to attach the shoe store. They must be strong enough to support the weight of the compost, plants and water.
Step 4: Test Drainage
Pour water into the pockets to check the drainage, if they don't drain then make a few small holes in each of the pockets.
Step 5: Fill Each Pocket With Compost
Add a good moisture retaining compost, fill to 1" below the rim so that water does not pour out over the rim.
Step 6: Add Plants or Seeds
Sow seeds or add seedlings I suggest....
- herbs thyme, sorrel, chives
- salad mixed leaf, mustard, cut and come again, or spinach
- minibel tomatoes
- 'petit pois peas you can eat the young leaflets and tendrils
Step 7: "Drip Aid"
Use a piece of wood to make sure the excess water drips into the trough below.
Step 8: Maintaining a Healthy Hanging Veg Plot
- Water slowly with a gentle flow, or you may wash soil and plants out of the pocket and it will dirty the crop below.
- Add water retaining crystals to the compost. HINT... add water to some crystals in a container and allow them to swell then add that to the compost and fill your containers, otherwise when the crystals swell they can grow so much that they push the compost, seeds and plants out!!
- Plants like tomatoes will need regular Tomato fertilizer (and use slow release granules) as the fertility of the compost will soon get exhausted.
- Do not over pick salad leaves, so the plant regrows.
- It is important to keep a look out for aphids, slugs, caterpillars and other pests.
- Remove diseased , infected or damaged leaves... compost them.
- Remove unproductive plants and compost them
- When reusing pockets add some fresh compost.
Step 9: Develop the Idea
- NEXT I would like...
-to hang up more shoe stores and pocket organisers, to increase the harvest.
Could it become addictive??? will I end up covering every available wall?
- try out different vegetables and herbs
- add an automatic drip watering system.