Michael Carrano is a mobile software engineer in NYC.
Vertical vegetable garden
Published by Michael Carrano on July 01, 2022
I enjoy gardening and growing my own food. The freshness of the fruit and vegetables is unbeatable.
I do not have a large backyard so for the past few years, I was limited to the little raised garden bed that I created. I also used a bunch of pots for plants that would not fit in the garden bed.
The way the sun rises and sets over my property meant that my garage would be in plenty of sunlight for a majority of the day. I kept thinking how I might be able to utilize this area better.
In 2021, I decided to just plant zucchini (4) right in the ground along the garage. I did not bother to till the dirt. This worked fine and got plenty of zucchini but I was still looking for more.
This year, I looked into setting up a vertical garden after seeing a few Youtube videos cross my feed. The idea was intriguing and using my garage was a perfect way to achieve this.
It is still early in the growing season but so far, knock on wood, everything is going fine. The plants are growing and flowering, some even have fruit growing already! I am looking forward to harvesting everything in September/October.
Material and setup for my vertical garden…
I got six (6) hook screws or in plant screws for 60lb capacity, likely much more than I need. Screwed them into the rafter overhangs.
I got six (6) chains cut to size so that I can have the chain hook into the screws and then stake the chain in the ground.
I then used empty gallon bottles for hanging the plants upside down. I put several drainage holes and additional holes for the zip ties to hang. I also cut the bottom out so I can feed the plant through. I wrapped the plant in some scrap fabric to help hold the dirt in place when watering.
For next year, there are some upgrades I am thinking about making such as replacing the chain with poles so that the plants do not spin around in the wind. I would also like to find bottles/containers that are a little bigger than a gallon so the roots have more room to grow.I also want to lower the top row just a little bit, it is a little awkward to water with it that high.
Update on November 15, 20202:
We are past the growing season and I have had some time to reflect on this experiment.
This did not turn out the way I was hoping but it was a good learning experience. I think it was mainly due to the size of the containers I used. The roots of the plants quickly grew to take up whatever space was available which I think stunted growth and lead to a low yield of vegetables.
Here’s a simple breakdown of what I was able to harvest.
- Tomatoes: At most, it grew four on a single plant. They weren’t very large for the beefsteak variety I was growing.
- Peppers: At most, it grew two on the plant and were also small in size.
- Eggplant: One per plant and very tiny.
Another issue I ran into was watering. On a hot day, the plants would quickly wilt, I was constantly going out to water since the soil would dry up quickly.
If I decide to do this again next growing season, I would switch to growing herbs in this fashion. They are much simpler plants and their root system doesn’t get as big from my experience.