Although there are negative issues associated with vertical gardens, many problems can be avoided if gardeners know what to do. Below are 3 common situations and possible solutions.
1. Heavy Containers
A vertical garden may be no heavier than its horizontal counterpart, yet when hung vertically, it can put strain on the supporting structure. In the case of a weak wood fence, this may not necessarily be a good idea.
To avoid this dilemma, gardeners can use a number of smaller planters spaced evenly apart over a wide area to appear larger. Shallower planters that hold less soil, like gutter gardens, can eliminate a lot of weight as well. Drought-tolerant succulents don’t require much water, which lighten a vertical garden considerably.
Some long or tall structures can be placed on the ground and then leaned up against a wall or fence, such as a pallet garden. This takes a significant amount of weight off of the supporting structure. Alternatively, potted plants can be hung or set on leaning ladder shelves.
2. Dry Soil
Plants grown in small containers in full sun tend to dry out quickly. Urban gardeners who grow their own fruit and vegetables run across this situation.
Setting up a regular drip watering system can help keep soil moist without overwatering. Another strategy is to add vermiculite to your soil. This additive helps retain moisture in the soil. Vermiculite can be found at any gardening center.
3. Water Leaks
Traditional potted plants drain water at their base, which can be contained in a saucer. Vertical gardens can drain from the back, sides or base, and this can wreck walls and fences plus make a mess on a patio or deck.
To circumvent this problem, waterproof backing like plastic sheeting can be attached to open garden containers affixed to a wall or fence (ie pallet gardens). Alternatively, these planters can be affixed to a trellis away from the wall.
Another method to control drainage is to divert water from upper planters to lower planters, as done in a zig zag gutter garden. Attaching a drip line or pvc pipe to the base of garden can also divert excess water to a specific location. Some vertical gardening containers like Wooly Pockets use materials designed to contain water while providing a breathable environment for plants.
With the right equipment, planting materials and planter design, new gardeners can bypass common problems and grow healthier plants with less work.
For more tips on vertical gardening methods, supplies and ideas, visit the Easy Vertical Gardening website: http://easyverticalgardening.com