Growing a Hanging Garden

Do you like the idea of having plants cascading down from the ceiling in a lovely hanging herb garden?   Well, so do we 🙂   

This article will share simple steps on how to have a beautiful unique & thriving hanging herb garden utilizing hanging planters.

Firstly, it’s worth noting up front that a hanging garden has some unique challenges, particularly around hydration.  Nothing major, but you do need to take some deliberate steps.

Watering is perhaps the most critical element as the hanging planter dries out faster.  Luckily, with Mr Stacky, you don’t have to be an expert gardener to pull it off.

So the following is an overview on how to optimize your set-up so you can enjoy quality vegetables, flowers, ferns, succulents etc from your hanging garden!

 

 

Step 1 – Think about what you want to grow

  • Strangely, some growers don’t grow food they actually like to eat.   This is a weird phenomenon that I have first hand experience with.   Growing that heirloom sorrel seems very interesting until you’re struck with a bumper crop of sorrel which you have absolutely no idea what to do with!   If you’re not a fan of spinach, you probably shouldn’t embark upon the task of growing it just to prove you can.
  • So, as a rule of thumb, grow veggies that you actually consume on a regular basis.  Seems self explanatory, but honestly, it’s worth noting!

Step 2 – Consider The Options

  • Firstly, consider the size of what you are growing and how you will grow it.   For example, corn is probably not something you want to grow in a hanging basket! 🙂 
  • However, things like tomatoes or cucumbers which you may think are not suitable for hanging baskets can actually work incredibly well!  You can easily train vine plants to hang down instead of grow upward. 
  • Check out this amazing hanging hydroponic tomato growing guide This guide applies to virtually any large vine plant (ie. Tomatoes, Cucumber, Melon).
  • Important note, if you’re growing large plants, make sure you choose the large planters instead of medium planters.  

Step 3 – Consider the Root Capacity Requirements

  • This is really important.  If the pot size is much much larger than the root capacity, your roots will have a hard time establishing themselves, but more importantly, if the root capacity of your planters is too little, your plants growth will be stunted and you simply will not achieve optimal results. 
  • As a general rule, fast cropping plants like lettuce, spinach, and soft herbs need a root growth capacity of approx 2 liters if growing in regular potting mix, or minimum of 1 litre of growing hydroponically with coco coir as the growing medium.   Read more about why coco coir is so awesome here
  • So it’s generally better to have a larger pot than a smaller pot, but not too big.    (Sorry if this is confusing!)   

Step 4 – Decide Where You Want to Grow it

  • Sunlight is KEY!    Think about the position of the sun.  In the hot summer months, the sun tracks higher in the sky.   This means hanging form a balcony with large overhang, you’ll likely have very little sun exposure.    The sun exposure will likely increase in the winter as the sun tracks lower in the sky.   
  • Most vegetables need a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, so choose a location that has maximum sun exposure for best results.

Step 5 – Think About the Potting Mixture

  • Choose the potting soil that matches your needs. If you live in an area that is really hot and sunny, materials like coco peat that can help hold moisture are recommended.   If you get a lot of rain, choose a mixture that contains sand for drainage.  
  • Garden soil may be higher in clay, which is heavier and doesn’t give roots as much freedom to move. Quality may not be the same from vendor to vendor, either.
  • Tip!   If you’re using potting mixture, it’s worth spending the extra $5 on that premium option.

Step 6 – Secure a Strong Hook 

  • Obviously there loads of different considerations here mainly based on what material you are hanging your garden from.   Plasterboard, brick, tile, plastic, tin etc etc
  • The important thing to note is that whatever you’re hanging the planter from, make sure it’s load bearing.   (ie. you would not want to hang a garden from plasterboard, find the wooden studs and drill into those!)
  • As a rule of thumb if you’re faced with a decision on how heavy duty to go with your hook, it’s better to have more strength than less strength.   The last thing you want is the thing falling on you or loved ones…   Make it heavy duty to ensure no issues. 

Step 7 – Get to Planting

  • Fill your hanging planter with premium potting mix, or coco/perlite (if going hydroponic) and scoop out appropriate size holes at each of the 4 outer clovers to make room for your plants.
  • Transplanting plants from the original container to the hanging basket is the fun part. Simply place your hand around the base of the plant to hold it in place and turn the container upside down. If the plant doesn’t fall out, squeeze the container lightly (if you can) or tap it. Once the plant slips out, turn it right side up, place it in your pre-scooped hole, cover it with soil and water.

Step 7 – Hang Your New Garden

  • Now, it’s likely that with plants, soil and moisture your hanging garden will be quite heavy, so you may want to wait to water it until it’s hung. 
  • Also it’s worth considering how high you want to hang it.   Too low and you’ll be bumping your head on it, too high and you may have difficulties getting water and sunlight to it…. 
  • Use the chain provided with the planter set and simply hang it to your heavy duty hook or other device you have fastened. 

Care & Maintenance

1) Frequent Watering

The plants in a hanging herb garden need more water than those on the ground.  In the cooler months, watering your plants every 2 to 3 days is probably enough, whereas in the summer, likely every day and maybe even twice a day for best results.
The best time to water your plants is in the morning or evening when it’s coolest. That will prevent the water from evaporating before it becomes available to the plants. Intentionally wet the hanging garden until you see streams of water coming out of the holes at the bottom. Don’t over do it.   

Check it every day to see if it needs water.   A simple trick is to just stick your finger into the growing medium.   You’ll quickly know if the planter is wet or dry this way.   The Stacking Planters by Mr Stacky allow for full water flow within the planter.    This is important as pooling water breeds insects and disease.    However with freely flowing water, comes the importance of regular watering.   

2) Apply Fertilizer

There are various types of fertilizers to use in a hanging garden.   If you’re growing hydroponically (using the coco/perlite), then you simply add nutrients to the water.    This is an amazing way to achieve THE BEST results from your garden.   For more info, here is a blog about growing hydroponic lettuce using coco/perlite

For soil based, if you’re using premium potting mix, you won’t really need to fertilize within the first 1-2 months.   After this time the slow release nutrients will have dissipated and so it’s worth applying some more.   
For hanging gardens, we recommend using the slow release dry fertilizers.   Plants use nutrients from the soil. With time, these nutrients become depleted.   Also, frequent watering removes nutrients from the soil.   Replenish the nutrients by applying fertilizer.Just sprinkle some in the pot and each time you water, the nutrients (mostly nitrogen) will release slowly.   Each type of fertilizer comes with specific instructions which are worth reading to ensure you don’t kill your plants! 

3) Checking for Pests & Disease

If your plant is not quite growing as you expected, it’s telling you the conditions are not optimal.   The vast majority of the time, you can be assured it’s water hydration issues that are the root cause.   When a plant is stressed, it’s more open to attack from pests and disease

This is similar to our own bodies and immune system.   Think about when you are run down, over-worked, tired or eating low quality food, you pick up a cold and flu much more easily than when you’re healthy.   Same goes for your plant….   Therefore prevention is the key.    
Pests can spread even in a hanging garden.   It’s important you catch the problem early to stem the issue before it worsens.   Once you let a particular pest flourish, they’ll take over very quickly. 
I’m not a hug fan of pesticides, sometimes you can fix the problem simply by inspecting the plant daily, and squashing any bugs with your fingers.   Try this as a first step!   
If however, you want something a bit more heavy duty, I recommend Pyrethrum which is a natural insecticide that works incredibly well!    Don’t both with synthetic insecticides that are harmful to your health, you don’t need em! 
If not handled on time, pests and diseases can reduce the quality of your fruits, vegetables, and herbs
If you have any questions, feel free to write to us on facebook

4) Trim Your Plants Once In A While

Giving your plants a hair-cut is very good for them!   Not only does it make it look neat and tidy it encourages new growth if done correctly.   Trim the stems to give your plants some breathing space and increase the branching. If it is vegetables such as kales, plucking the yellowing, older leaves encourage the growth of fresh ones. Trimming also makes it easier for flowering and fruiting to happen.

5) Remove the Dead Heads

With time, some of your herbs and vegetables will begin to dry up. What should you do with them? Remove all the dead parts of the plant starting from where they meet the main stem. This simple action will make the hanging garden to look better and greener. If your plants come with other specific care instructions, follow them to the letter.

6) Weeding

You probably won’t have to worry too much about weeds in a hanging garden, but weeds can grow anywhere.   Due to their competitive nature, weeds deny the legitimate plants the exclusive access to the soil nutrients. Your herbs, therefore, fail to grow as fast as they should.

That’s why you should weed the hanging herb garden frequently.  Pull out the weeds before they flower and form fruits. Seeding weeds are known to spread quickly and could be harder to destroy. Where necessary, user herbicide sprays to destroy the weeds.

Conclusion

Hopefully you found this guide informative for your next hanging garden project.   Check out these amazing 3 tier stacked hanging gardens.   They come in a nice little kit that’s super easy to set-up and look amazing.