2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3, Page #19[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
How To Create A Vertical PVC Garden
To start, youíll need PVC pipe thatís at least 4 in. wide (larger allows for bigger plants and growing in multiple directions). A large planter, potting soil, and pea gravel are also necessary, as well as a power drill with a 1 1/4-in. spade drill bit.
Begin by cutting your PVC down to your preferred planting height, accounting for the fact that the bottom will be buried in the pot. Around 5 ft. tall usually works best for easy maintenance. Note that the longer you leave the pipe, the more challenging watering will be without a built-in irrigation system.
Next, drill holes in the side for planting. Make the holes large enough for easier transplanting without being so large that soil (or young plants) falls out of the opening.
Then place the pipe within the pot, filling the base with pea gravel to anchor it. Start adding the rest of the gravel into the top of the pipe, stopping when you reach a hole to add in about 6 in. of potting soil. This ensures the plants have plenty of growing space and good drainage. Add some soil to the top of the pot as the last step to hide the pea gravel and add some extra planting space.
Choose small, hardy plants with well-developed root structures. Seeds donít tend to work well, as they can get washed out or dislodged from a hole.
Some of the best plant varieties for a vertical garden include succulents, lettuce, spinach, green onions, and chives. Hardy perennials like strawberries and most herbs work especially well because their longer lifespan allows the roots time to fully spread through the pipes.
Weeds rarely get established, but you can pull any out that emerges from the planting holes. Just take care not to dislodge any soil or pull out any established plants. Most can handle being left in wintry weather, though youíll prolong the lifespan of the plastic if you take it down. Expect to refresh the potting soil every growing season or so to ensure things stay fresh.
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