Do you know why herbs have their strongest taste and aroma picked fresh off the plant? Essential oils…but they evaporate quickly and so even the ‘fresh’ store bought herbs don’t have the same wonderful burst of flavour. This is a beautiful yet functional way to easily grow your herbs at home…(even with limited space)
My Mom lives in a double story house with the living area on the top level. She loves cooking with fresh herbs and so for her birthday we decided to install this designer, vertical herb garden on her patio. Now she can easily pop out the door and pick a sprig of ‘delicious’ to add to her meals. This is how we did it:
If you going to be planting herbs in your vertical garden then it is important to choose a spot that gets at least 7 hours of sunlight (morning sun is best). The spot we chose is conveniently situated just next to the braai and makes a perfect ‘feature wall’ enhancing the entertainment area.
Herbs thrive when harvested regularly so choose herbs that you use often. Use sharp secateurs to snip them about 2cm from the base to encourage lush re-growth or in the case of leafy herbs like rocket, harvest from the outside inwards, always leaving about 5-7 leaves on the plant.
We using buckets to plant in so we have to get long L-shaped brackets to suspend them far enough away from the wall, to keep the air circulating, so the plants don’t get too hot & burn. These brackets come with a little ‘lip’ at the end to hold the bucket handle nicely. I got mine at Mica Hardware.
Whatever container you decide to use, it must have drainage holes or your plants will drown. I bought these galvanized steel buckets from Game which are water tight and perfect for planting in. I drilled 4 x 5mm holes in the bottom, allowing excess water to drain out, too many holes will cause the soil to dry out too quickly.
Herbs grow best in rich soil and as you will be eating them, it is good to add volcanic rock dust as these trace nutrients get taken up by the herb plant, making it extremely nutritious for you. Mix 50% top soil with 50% well matured animal manure (horse manure is the best) & sprinkled over 1/4 cup of earthworm castings. (I personally used the Afmine range which comes in super cool hemp bags!)
*I used this nifty compost scoop to neatly scoop the soil into my buckets.
Look at this stunning stainless steel spade & fork set I used to plant with. Once planted, press the soil down firmly around your plant. Pour a 3-5cm layer of wood chips over the top of the soil. This insulates it against evaporation,will keep it cool & encourage soil microbial activity.
As your garden is planted in small buckets it dries out much easier than soil in the ground so it is important to water your vertical garden every 4-6 days. The steel buckets help to deflect the sun rays and will keep the soil cooler than other containers. Use a watering can to avoid spillage that wastes water.
After a day of fun in the sun our garden was done! As most of you might know, the term vertical garden means that you plant a garden upwards. This type of garden is perfect for people with limited space and time as it is the easiest of gardens to maintain. It is also easy to pick up and move if you relocated to a new place.