For a lot of us, the urban existence we choose means that there's less real estate for gardens and greenery. Over the past year or so, I've been fascinated with the popularity of vertical gardens and while there are quite a few ready made solutions that are more affordable than the original trailblazers, it isn't too hard to make one yourself. It's a perfect solution for getting rid of pots and creating more ground space, and takes just a couple of hours to assemble. Using a salvaged wooden pallet, some weed mat, a staple gun and a few simple bits and pieces, you can create vertical greenery to turn a balcony or small courtyard into a low maintenance oasis. My pallet garden above, consists of edibles above (sage, oregano, creeping thyme, variegated garlic, plus some pyrethium to discourage pests, a row of grass, and some succulents I've been growing in pots. Here's how you can make your own:
You will need:
- 1 wooden pallet - make sure it's not chemically treated if you're going to plant edibles
- 1 piece of MDF cut to the dimensions of the pallet. Your hardware store should be able to do this for you.
- Roll of weed mat, a 5m roll is plenty
- 100kg of potting mix
- Small potted plants (enough to compact them in to stop the dirt falling out)
- A box of staples for your staple gun. Longer staples are better.
- Staple Gun
2. Measure a length of weed mat that will cover the back and three sides of the pallet, leaving the top open. Ensuring the mat is pulled taut, staple the edges to seal the mat to the pallet. Trim the edges so everything looks neat.
3. Nail the MDF to the back, over the top of the weed mat, to reinforce the structure.
4. Cut an additional piece of weed mat and staple to the open side, which will be the top of your garden. This will prevent soil from falling out while the pallet is flat on the ground. You'll remove it later, once the pallet is mounted on the wall.
5. Fill the pallet with soil, ensuring it is evenly distributed.
6. Plan the design of your plants and carefully place them into the gaps, making sure that they're densely compacted enough to stop the soil from falling out once you've mounted it.
7. Water everything in with seaweed solution and leave your plants to take root for a few days before you go vertical.
8. Once your plants have had a chance to settle in, carefully mount your pallet garden, using the appropriate fastenings for your situation (remember you're dealing with about 120kgs of weight, so be careful!
9. When the pallet is mounted, remove the weed mat from the top of the structure and you can choose to plant additional greenery on top.
10. That's it! The beauty of a vertical garden is that gravity will feed the water down to all the plants, meaning less water is wasted.
P.s. If you end up making your own, post a picture - I'd love to see what you did!