There are hundreds of ways to grow plants. Coming to a nice cafe or to a friend’s place and seeing mini gardens on their windowsills or on the walls, you might get interested in how these plants actually grow and what you need to make it yourself.
Vertical gardens are non-standard but simple ways to make your dwelling a beautiful place. ‘Gardens’ might be a too massive word for the ideas most people use in their houses. Most often, it is just a wall or a few hanging baskets where they grow herbs, flowers, or favorite veggies.
Growing plants in such a way is an empowering and gripping experience that you are sure to enjoy. This article provides answers about how to organize a vertical garden in several simple steps.
What you will need to follow this tutorial:
- Plant seeds.
- Sun-facing wall.
- An aluminum or plastic container (possibly, rain gutter).
- Soil or a soilless mix for pots.
- A strong string (if you want a hanging pot).
- A hammer.
- Paint (optional).
- Jigsaw and other carpentry tools.
Before you start growing herbs, veggies, leafy greens, and flowers hydroponically at home, you’ll need to pick the right system to start with. Here are our suggestions: Our Picks for the 5 Hydroponic Bucket Systems and Our Picks for the 5 Grow Tent Kits with Buyer’s Guides.
What Is an Indoor Vertical Garden?
A lot can be understood about the vertical garden by its name. As obvious as it is, these gardens make a special place where you grow plants opposite of traditional horizontal systems. This is achieved thanks to nettings, hanging baskets, garden walls, and trellis. Any design you imagine is possible for such indoor gardens, which are often the only solutions you’ve got.
Here are some of these gardens’ benefits:
- Compact growing
Even if a private house is still your dream, you can easily grow your favorite species in a small apartment, especially if you don’t like your window sills taken. Vertical gardens come in different sizes and forms – wooden panels, frames for tiny plants, trellis and boards of all possible materials, a set of connected boxes, ladders, or organizers. Options are simply countless, but if you have a burning desire, nothing can stop you, not even the lack of space.
- Stylish elements of home interior
Who doesn’t want to make their house more aesthetic? Seeing live plants sprouting in whatever season of the year adds up to the looks of your dwelling and adds a fresh touch to the whole room.
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- Making the air cleaner
Health benefits are another reason why indoor gardens are so much loved. The grateful plants will help you clean up the house from chemicals that you occasionally use. Plus, they let you get rid of dust, which causes allergies and irritation.
How to Build an Indoor Vertical Garden
Once you decide to go for it, a vertical garden is not so hard to build. However, there are the ins and outs that we want to highlight in the next few points.
First of all
We recommend you to choose the structure for your vertical garden. When deciding, think if you want the structure to be movable in case you want to have it in the other room or take it with you in case you move out. Pick flexible and easy-to-adapt structures if your dwelling isn’t permanent.
Size matters, too: choose the structures that won’t cause discomfort as you perform everyday activities. A small panel with basil in the kitchen won’t cause any moving problems, but a set of boxes potentially can.
Consider materials. If you plan to attach pots to the wall or hang them, use lightweight materials such as plastic or fabric roots.
Think about what kind of plants you would like to see in your house. Start with the actual purpose and the place where you plant them. Growing veggies like cherry tomatoes will obviously require more space than just having tiny pots with mint or basil. So, be prepared to meet all the needs of the plants you have chosen. Many evergreen species and flowers tend to act like climbers, so be ready to provide trellis and other structures to encourage them to grow.
This third step is
In fact, a part of something bigger. The whole idea is to think about what type of garden you want. Is it a pocket garden inside the organizer or a vertical pot chain? Imagine a ready and unified design of your garden where each element serves a particular goal.
Knowing much and researching plants is a good way to get started. For instance, if you find out that the liana or kiwifruit are aggressive growers, you wouldn’t like to plant them among slower-growing plants. One of the best options is having a mini garden of related species like thyme, lemongrass, basil, oregano, parsley, and rosemary, which won’t conflict with each other.
Preparation Stage: What to Do Before Placing Sprouts In Garden
Once you are ready with these vital choices, you can start the planting process. The preparation to planting begins much earlier than you actually place the young plants in the pots of a vertical garden. First, you will need to plant the seeds and expose them to sunlight, providing water, depending on how much of it they need.
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Now, wait for the sprouts to appear but don’t rush to put them in pots right away as they might still be too weak. This can take a week or several, but this is the key to a successful garden – knowing when the time is right.
After the sprouts feel at home in the soil or soilless mix, just keep them alive by watering and letting them see the light, although limiting direct sun exposure. Plastic pots require less watering while, for example, fabric pockets will absorb some water. If your choice falls on the last type, be careful not to overwater the plants.
Here is the video that shows how to build the rain gutter vertical garden.
BONUS: Step-by-Step Guide. Ways to Build Hydroponic Indoor Vertical Garden – Tutorial
Hydroponic gardens are a popular variation of indoor gardens prized for their clean growing and better smell and taste of herbs and vegetables. Hydroponic hardens to make a brilliant solution for those eager to grow them faster and get bigger fruit. Evidence proves that the tomatoes are grown hydroponically reach 3 times the size of regular tomatoes grown in soil.
No soil-based plant diseases, high efficiency of nutrient solutions, allowing a higher density of plants in the system – these are other good reasons to consider a hydroponic garden.
If you set up this kind of indoor garden right, you will get the full reward. Plus, there won’t be any mess with the soil.
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The perfect hydroponic vertical garden includes the following.
The overall set of ingredients for making and maintaining a perfect hydroponic vertical garden includes the following:
- A container for liquid of medium size (or water required for your vertical garden)
- A water pump to get water circulate + hose
- LED lights for growth when it’s dark
- A strong structure for holding pots
- Aerator for aquariums
- Light-proof containers for roots (to avoid algae)
So, how do we create a vertical hydroponic garden inside the house? We will show it at the example of the tower garden structure.
For the vertical tower garden, you will need more than for a standard one:
- New vinyl post of the chosen size and 2 post tops
- A panel for preparing a lid for the tank (not transparent)
- PVC pipe
- A powerful pump
- Utility hinges
- Blind stop molding, vinyl
- Adhesive glue spray
- PVC epoxy
- Clear water-resistant silicone
- Net pots
- Soldering iron
- Several screws and nuts
- Nylon hose 1,27 cm in diameter
- Sandpaper (of medium grit)
- Vinyl hose (3 meters) with an inner diameter of 1,27 cm
- 10 cm*60cm metal pipe (aluminum) to use for dryer vents
Step 1. Cut the fence post.
Measure the height you want this tower garden to be and cut it. 150-160 cm is considered the average convenient height for most houses.
Step 2. Make a hole in the plastic sheet.
For this, you will need to use the ready square template, which is widely available. After this, put the net whole template at the recommended distance for growing your plant. Make it so that the holes on every side wouldn’t overlap in the tower.
Step 3. Glue the pothole template on the fence post.
We recommend using adhesive glue to complete this step.
Step 4. Make a hole at one end of the template.
This should be done with a drill and will grant the smooth work of a jigsaw. Make the identical hole to the template’s one in the pot.
Step 5. Make the net pot support.
Cut the PVC pipe so that it makes a little ‘pocket.’ For this, you will need to cut it at a 45-degree angle at a height of around 6 cm. The net pot support is ready!
Step 6. Make the hole for water to come out.
Use the same template and make a cut in the rectangular form at the very bottom of the future tower. Then, move the potholder to the bottom of the prepared net pot holder. To make it neater, use sandpaper and rub it before gluing.
This stage requires you to use PVC epoxy to fix the edge of the net potholder at the bottom of the previously made hole. Still, the epoxy isn’t all – you will need to put some weight on top and leave for a couple of hours to let it all stick together.
Step 7. Prepare pyramid tops.
From the vinyl tops left, take one top and drill an equal number (in our case, 3) of holes on every side to ensure that nutrients come to every plant in the system. Nearly 9 or 10 holes would be enough for one piece.
Step 8. Unite the tops.
With the help of a hinge, unite the two tops together and with another hinge, attach this top to the tower at the opposite side. To cover screws, make use of waterproof silicone. This will let you avoid corrosion.
Step 9. Build the way for nutrient distribution.
Take the blind stop molding and divide it into parts so that they would make pieces 3,75 m long. The sides also need some sandpaper work before attaching to the inside of the construction. The same should be done with the insides where it touches net potholes. After you rubbed each piece, attach it in the same way with epoxy.
Step 10. Put the net pot in the hole.
As you do it, leave marks on its edges where they come close to the net pot hole’s top. Use a soldering iron to prevent leaks over the edges of the pot and simplify putting the pot into the pothole.
Step 11. Work with the container cover.
At this stage, just cut a small piece for it to form a tiny lid on the tower covering. Protect the screws with transparent silicone. By doing so, it will be easier for you to pour the nutrient solution into the container and track all of the necessary parameters like pH or EC (electric conductivity).
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After this, make another hole at the center of the covering for the nutrient supply hose.
Step 12. Set the pump.
Place the water pump at the center of the container and connect a pump’s outlet to the nutrient supply hose. Have a T-barb on this hose at the level of the tower; this will let you distribute the nutrient solution to both tower construction.
Tip: you might use a timer to ensure regular watering of the plants, which demand a special watering schedule, such as strawberries or other fruit-bearing cultures.
Step 13. Put the net pot into the net pothole.
Here you may add balls of clay and let the plant remain on top of these balls. They will improve aeration and let the root system absorb the air better.
Step 14. Start and check the water pump.
This is done to control the intensity of water flow. Splashing the water on the leaves of many plants causes disease and death. Just check it and regulate the power of the pump.
Step 15. Support your tower garden.
In most cases, a wire will do to give the construction necessary support.
So, that is all! The vertical garden in the hydroponic variant is finally installed. Now, set up good lighting, plant the sprouts, and maintain them well.
When it comes to the maintenance of such vertical gardens, one of the essential conditions is providing enough light. Since, in this case, we are growing the garden indoors, it is better to use High-Intensity Discharge (HID) or LED grow lights. If you don’t aim to spend much on lighting solutions, go for cheaper, fluorescent light bulbs and keep them on from 15 to 20 hours daily.
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Measuring pH and EC is vital, too. To maintain a healthy garden, you will need to get deeper into the topic, so we advise you to read the guide highlighting these concepts and giving practical advice on keeping good pH or changing it. Moreover, you will be happy to find out recommended pH levels and EC parameters for different plants starting from flowers and finishing with beans.
How do you maintain an indoor vertical garden?
When it comes to a nutrient solution, stick to the directions of the nutrient solution’s manufacturer and add it to the container with water with a fixed frequency. Be careful also not to use nutrient solutions when their expiration date is over and keep the mixture in a cool place and well aerated. The form of nutrient solutions doesn’t matter – both liquid and powdered will do if they are chosen according to the needed strength and type of plant.
It is also good advice to use filtered water since the quality of tap water is, unluckily, doubtful in many regions, and elements it contains, such as fluoride, might cause unpredictable changes in the crops.
What can I plant in a vertical planter?
The short answer is practically anything (that your flat’s space allows). Among the most successfully grown vegetables in vertical indoor gardens, there are different types of beans, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and even mini eggplants and cucumbers.
Leafy greens are also popular, in particular lettuce, kale, spinach, and mustard greens. Herbs will be great for any time of the year. Still, remember that they need a lot of sunlight. Choose the ones more common or more favorite – dill, mint, bergamot, cumin, oregano, or stevia. Aromatherapeutic plants are getting more popular: lavender, echinacea, catmint, etc.
How does a vertical garden work as a system?
The technique of vertical gardening is simple as it involves maintaining all the plants through the same water reservoir in the case with hydroponics or soil in the case with traditional gardening. All required nutrients come to the plants through water or soil at the same time, so you also get the bonus of easier maintenance – it’s simpler to water and ‘feed’ plants as a system than separately.
How do you arrange plants vertically?
You can arrange them in any way you find convenient, including hanging pots, wooden boxes, or letting them climb on trellis vertically. Vertical indoor gardens are good for space-saving since you can afford more plants than you would have horizontally.
What is the best soil for an indoor vertical garden for vegetables?
Any reputable type of potting soil you buy from a proven manufacturer is okay. However, experts are talking about the benefits of loamy soil containing elements like peat moss, ‘old’ compost, and builder’s sand. Remember that every culture has its own ‘favorite soil,’ and make sure you check it out before planting or organizing a vertical potted garden.
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Have you found much food for thought in this guide? We hope this was informative and prompted you to get started with your indoor vertical garden being unafraid to take action and enjoy this garden for years to come.
Make sure you directly follow the steps we described in the tutorial, research the area more, and you are sure to have success. Feel free to air your views in the comment section, add some valuable advice if you already have some experience, and share the read with those who might need it.