All throughout January we’re bringing you 30 Days, 30 Ways to Good Health, a series of easy strategies for overall wellness (and because we love food, it’s focuses on the foods and cooking techniques to add into your life instead of what to take away.) Read on for our latest eat well strategy: start a kitchen garden.
This guide to vertical gardening comes courtesy of Daron Joffe, a.k.a. Farmer D of Farmer D Organics. The company develops and sells environmentally conscious farm and garden products, empowering people to grow their own food.
We’re going vertical with our culinary gardens — up and down trellises, windows, walls, and every other vertical space you can imagine. “Vertical gardening” (not to be confused with vertical farming, which involves turning whole buildings into closed-loop, large-scale food-growing systems) offers terrific, small-scale solutions to the home gardener who is challenged by space, loves to experiment, may have physical limitations that make crouching and digging in the yard difficult, or who wants to incorporate eye-catching, conversation-starting four-season food-growing as a design element into his or her home decor.
The good news? New products are coming out almost daily that make setting up your own vertical growing system a snap. Gone are the days of having to figure out how to repurpose empty plastic bottles as grow tubes for tarragon and thyme (although that’s still fun to do).
Here are some ways you can take your healthy, home grown-food harvests to whole new heights:
Identify your best locations. If you already have a productive outdoor garden in a space you know works, you may want to double your growing potential by adding vertical structures such as trellises and arbors. You can then grow vining perennials like grapes up them, or seasonal favorites like beans and cucumbers.
Locate these structures so that they don’t block sun exposure for your other fruits and vegetables. Build them big and sturdy and you can grow even heavy varieties like gourds, as they shade crops underneath that like it a bit cooler. Building or buying these types of structures is a good winter project for most of us, while our friends in places like South Florida and other moderate winter climates may want to road-test these ideas during their peak growing season now.
Turn your kitchen into a greenhouse. If you already have sun pouring in your kitchen (or any other room), you are halfway to growing year-round. Now, all you need is a system that uses that abundant sunlight to deliver fresh lettuces, herbs and more in a neat, handy way that doesn’t make a mess or take up too much room. Vertical grow systems that attach to windows achieve these objectives efficiently while also looking nice. They often come in modular forms so that you can add to them as your indoor garden success, well, grows.
Climb the walls. “Living walls” take the whole vertical window-garden concept a step further and enable you to include a fully-automated system that can be adapted for either indoor or outdoor use. Living walls that feature edibles are striking accents in a home or restaurant and serve as elegant property dividers or patio features outdoors. And what fun to let dinner guests choose their own salad herbs while mingling with a cocktail (mint-infused, of course) in their other hand.
Tap into Farmer D Organics for more tips about growing good, healthy food by putting the space you have to work for you, no matter how limited it may seem at first. The sky’s the limit!
Learn more about vertical gardening here, and shop our vertical gardening solutions: