VERTICAL VEGETABLES: "Grow Up" in a Small Garden and Confound the Cats!




Introduction: VERTICAL VEGETABLES: "Grow Up" in a Small Garden and Confound the Cats!

About: I live in Somerset, England. I have always been practical and creative. I just love problem solving and reusing/ recycling materials for my projects..

''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.

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294 Discussions


1 year ago

Great use of space.

I did this last year. The biggest problem I had was the soil drys out very quickly, since there isn't much. Unless you have an irrigation system, you will most likely need to water every day, or more if it's in direct sun. But they are great for lettuce, but the lettuce bolts quick when the soil heats up.

I am going to line my pockets with plastic baggies with a smallish hole in the bottom for drainage. In the fall I can simply lift the baggies out for storage of the holder, and the plastic bags liners may prevent mildew and staining. I hope.

I just found this project and I can't wait to try it out! Thanks!

I hung my shoe thing off the railing of the deck. Started my plants from seeds, so everything is still tiny. I planted basil, parsley, kale, collard greens, spinach, and a bunch of different leaf lettuces.
I got my shoe organizer from a local thrift store for $2. I have seen pictures on the internet of pockets that came unstitched, I guess from the weight of the soil. I didn't want that to happen to mine so I reinforced the stitches.


My garden is in shade except for the wall of the tool shed. This is the perfect solution for my kitchen herb growing needs. Just picked up the shoe holder today at the local thrift shop, so I think that makes it official. A bit worried about the mildew comment, but I think being in good sunlight should help with that.

this is a great idea for my deck since I'm in a wheelchair & can't get out in my yard to do a big garden. I'm so trying this this season.

Cool idea, sending this to my brother.

This article was
really good and informative. If someone interested seeing another related article on Vertical Garden, here is the link to visit and let me know your views.

I had this idea two years ago and did it myself. It looked great for a few months that summer but after then it had to be taken down as the mildew made it not so pretty!

I am not giving up but think that next time I will try coating the material with an outdoor fabric protector to make it more waterproof. I just want to be sure that it doesn't impart a toxic impact to the herbs. Perhaps I will stick to flowers if I can't be sure of that since I prefer to go organic and any chemicals make me weary.

I have a few more of those shoe holders which I find tedious for actual shoe storage as it needs cleaning pretty often and many of my shoes are too big to fit in the little pockets!

Very nice liked. I hope you the further development.

My father used to do gardening stuff like this one, but he never made it vertical. I'll show him your project, maybe he'll try.

It will depend where you live and what you are growing. The salad cut and come again are very quick. The soil and air temperatures need to be warming up, frosts need to be over.. Good luck, sow afew seeds if they die off sow again . You can plant earlier if you protect from frost by using fleece covering.

This is an awesome idea to maximise the space we have in our tiny garden! And I bet the kids would love a chance to put their gardening skills to the test - they've got some seeds that they've been dying to plant but haven't been able to find a good spot for them yet!

such a simple idea, i like it. i grow herbs and this would be perfect for doing that.