VERTICAL VEGETABLES: "Grow up" in a small garden and confound the cats!

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''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.
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Step 1: Materials needed

Picture of 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 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.
mrfoltz12 days ago

I'm going to try this , this spring... I bought some cups to go inside the holders to give them more strength because I bought my shoe hanger at the Dollar store so I'm not sure of the quality??? I'll take a picture as soon as the 6 feet of snow melts this spring... :(

idydstie12 days ago

Wow you are a genius!!! That would be perfect for lettuce! Where I live, it doesn't warm up much till mid June, I think I will try to find an organizer that is made in a darker color so the sun warms the seeds and get's em' growing sooner.

I think that my only concern would be keeping birds from nesting in it, but if you have cats that should be no problem!

Kelly0210 months ago
Amazing idea! very nice.
Chloe810 months ago
Must try this! Will tomatos be ok when they grow taller? is it better to put it in the bottom row and use a stick just like the photo above?
pippa5 (author)  Chloe810 months ago
i used a hanging basket mini variety no good for tall ones
Latona3811 months ago
Thank you so much for sharing your idea! I just moved to an apartment and have a small patio and couldn't figure out how I would grow a garden without taking up all of my outdoor space! I can't wait to try this!!
simpiligno1 year ago
Great idea! I rent my house, so I can't tear up my yard to plant much. I used your instructable and added a solar powered drip irrigation system!

simpiligno1 year ago
Great idea! I rent my house, so I can't tear up my yard to plant much. I used your instructable and added a solar powered drip irrigation system!
tincanz3 years ago
Super awesome Idea!!!

Is it alright with you if I add it to my "plants" group?
pippa5 (author)  tincanz3 years ago
yes thats ok
teddy6 pippa52 years ago
Can i share your article into our website
here in the Philippines
attribution to you Pippa5 and
pippa5 (author)  teddy62 years ago
yes i am fine with that
teddy6 pippa51 year ago
Good afternoon mam

I have posted your article in our website the,ph

With almost 900+ viewers and perhaps most of them have viewed this main link

Thanks and More Power
foobear1 year ago
This is a good idea. It is three years later, how has it held up over time?
beachmezz1 year ago
This is why read instructables. Innovative simple and elegant. Bravo!
andrewsvan1 year ago
How do pepper plants do in this style of planting. I was considering upside down planting this year but this is very practical if peppers do well in this.
Have to be careful nothing to leach into the dirt, like from plastic and no fire retardant in it that could leach into soil for any food products. Flowers would be fine. I am like you, I like the idea of growing food. Need to find something that doesn't have flame retardant and no plastic.
What about using large (or whatever size fits) Ziplock food bags inside each of the pockets?
Might drown the plants as watrer goes in and if can't leak out then the roots will get too wet and rot.
pippa5 (author)  andrewsvan1 year ago
i have not tried peppers but small variety may be ok
has anyone else tried peppers?
iamoma1 year ago
Great idea! What about using large (or whatever size fits) Ziplock food bags inside each of the pockets?
PoeDunkMae4 years ago
Does it matter what kind of shoe organizer you use?  Does it need to be "breathable" or can you use one of the kind that has the clear plastic pockets?  I am planning on doing this project this spring with my children, and I thought it would be neat if they could "see" the dirt and roots growing in the clear pockets, but I wanted to see if that would work first.

This is an AWESOME AWESOME IDEA I love it!! Now I feel dumb for tossing out our old shoe organizer! 
The only caution I would make is that if you plan to use it for food plants, herbs, lettuce etc, be sure that the material will not leach harmful substances into the soil. If you are just using it for decorative plants, no problem whatever you want to use I would imagine.
I was planning to put herbs in it but that couldbe a prblem then s if it is plastic, it might have harmful substance to leach out into the soil. If it is cloth, it might have flame retardant mateials in it which coud be poisonous to us. Any suggestions of how to get somethin that would be food safe? I love the idea. I don't have a decent sewing machine so can't get canvas or someting and make this.

pippa5 (author)  PoeDunkMae4 years ago
 hi You can use clear if you want but roots will tend to grow towards the dark ie into the soil. You will also get algae and other green weed seeds germinating and growing... educational perhaps. If you stick ( using duct tape) black plastic or cloth to some of the pockets then the roots are more likely to be visible when the black plastic is removed, or peeked under!! Or go creative and cut holes in the black mask and see what happens.
I used non breathable as it retained the moisture better . But have a go and experiment with what you can find and the children will be able to observe and learn . Good luck  You may not get vast crops but is a good way of saving space and sparking an interest
fulgenteft2 years ago

Thanks so much! I had no idea what to do with the one sunny corner I have on my patio, and this is my answer! I couldn't drill into my patio wall, so I had to be really creative about how I hung the organizer. For those who can't mount a curtain rod or similar mounting hardware for any reason, I've found strap ties are strong enough to hold the weight of the plants and flexible enough to be bent into most requisite shapes.
How do you use strap ties on this? I plan to put on my storage shed but not sure about mounting as has to be on 2 x 4's and not just the wall. I will silicone or caulk around the attachment. However, would like to know how you used the strap ties. Thanks/
The strap ties are not attached to the wall by anything but gravity-- I can't drill into the wall, so they are just bent in a hook shape. The strap ties have holes for mounting hardware, and so I used heavy duty nylon twine to sew the strap ties to the fabric. It's held up well so far, but probably needs more support between the ties to keep it from buckling in the middle as much. There's a link at the top of my comment-- go there to see more images of what I did.
lyeshea1 year ago
How messy is this?

In september I'm moving from a house with a yard to an apartment. I'm trying to figure out if I could modify this to be an indoor project and get some green inside my new apartment.

Do you have a patio or balcony Why not against the apartment wall? need sun o grow light. Do have dripping on ground.
Good luck
bbpiglet71 year ago
Hello - fab to see great ideas come from Britain! Many forums/sites I come across are American and have brilliant information on them, but nevertheless, as a fellow Brit, I take my hat off to you and will definately be trying this :) Here's hoping for some sunshine........
My husband and I just installed some of these in our back yard and we love it. We just mounted it with screws to our fence. We also pre-soaked our soil and it has helped a lot.

Thanks for the great idea!
jessimata4 years ago
note: if you are at all considering eating the fruits of your labor; there are natural fertilizers and companion plants to aid in pest control instead of the chemical stuff.
so what plants would you recommend to help in pest control?
do you plant them in the same pockets or would you plant them around all the outer pockets, thereby providing a kind of barrier?
marigolds, mix of herbs, things that would attract birds that like bugs, or bugs that eat other bugs. I always noticed the more mix of plants the better chemistry between everyone of them.
I have read that if you combine certain plants together aka companioning it is a natural way to ward of certain pests. For example you should combine 3 basil plants per one tomato plant. Not only do you keep pests down you save space in your garden and have a slight basil undertone taste in your tomatoes :) Look up companion planting as an organic solution to pesticides.
usually fragrants or allums (onion garlic chives) or grow some reallllly hot peppers and dry or grind them and mix(also with a glove of garlic?) let the mixsteep in the sunin a glass closable jar. like a un clasped glass flip top then strain/dilute with a drop of soap and spray it on. but label and put this stuff up. and dont use during the flowering season if you looking to have it polenated
no chenicl stuff, very good,being organic vegetable
feeorin1 year ago
Marigolds are excellent pest control, also adding a mix of different herbs help, adding flowers help birds that like buggies find the place too. Plenty of options!

I am struggling since I moved to a totally new climate than I am used to. Most of my life in a desert, new how to grow there, or in the Military, but now I am in a condo, small lanai (porch sort of) lots of shade in my area. I have one pocket of sun however the homeowners association is so terribly picky about these things, so I am pondering how to make them happy, yet provide vertical growing space for me.

I dont have much for tools, might have to borrow, however I was thinking of making a "homeowners association" read: pretty enough to make the people that have naught better to do than pick on people trying to add beauty in plants and vegi's happy. Perhaps a wooden variation of this? if I could find enough scrap wood, perhaps I can paint it with some "green" paint that wont leech into the plants, then hope that will work. Not simple, but I have no other solutions *sigh* Plenty of space in the shadow area of the lanai but the veggies wont care for that so much.
Awesome idea, i'm an apartment dweller with not much space at home so this is a swell idea to do, thanks for sharing, I have the exact same shoe organizer that I can upcycle to this planter

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