What Should I Grow? Vertical Garden Ideas

Growing your own quality fresh produce from your backyard is totally doable with the right technology!  You can achieve incredible yields from any small backyard or balcony with limited gardening experience or maintenance.   This blog will break down a few of the best options available today for abundant yields in small spaces. 


There’s something about frolicking barefoot through your garden.  It’s good for the soul.   However, spending countless hours planting, watering and caring for your garden, only to to harvest gangling bug invested produce really sucks big time. 
 

Most people want to grow fresh organic produce from home, but simply don’t have the time or expertise.   What if there was a simple way to have fresh organic produce from home at less than half the cost you’d find in the grocer’s aisle?   Vertical gardening may just hold the answer you seek. The key is automation.   Automate the watering process ensuring just the right amount of water and nutrient at every stage of growth, and you have a winning formula for repeatable success.   This article touches on some creative vertical gardening ideas well worth the attention of budding and experienced urban farmers.    


Hydroponic Tower Gardening

This is a really exciting new technology that is steadily taking over commercial hydroponic farms.  

Free standing hydroponic towers can be set-up anywhere.  Suitable for small residential or large scale commercial operations they utilize a simple drain to waste technology requiring no re-circulation, no pumps and no reservoirs! 
YES, NO RE-CIRCULATION, NO PUMPS & NO RESERVOIRS!
IN FACT, THE HOLE FARM RUNS FROM 4 x AA Batteries!   
 

For you hydroponic buffs out there, you may be skeptical, but once you see this method in real life, you’ll be converted…  For fast growing cut and come again crops like lettuce, herbs, spinach, micro-greens etc it is an absolute no brainer as you exponentially increase your yield p/square meter with every stack.   Some farmers stack 10+ high.     This is the future of commercial hydroponic farming!

Bekemeyer u pick strawberry farm mr stacky

Strawberry u-pick farm

The towers run on a simple fertigation system connected to water mains with very low electricity requirements.  The goal is to keep the tower consistently moist with only very limited run off.   

A typical watering regime is 4 x 2 min feeds p/day.   As they’re elevated off the ground you can grow on any terrain (eg. steep land or dry, sandy, salty soils).  Check out these amazing commercial tower farms producing gross annual revenue of $150k+ p/year from an area 5 x 20 meters!   This is the best yield per square meter you will find.

Check out this video on a commercial farm located in Tallebudgera Valley, QLD Australia.


Wall Gardening Planters

From a simple design that includes potted plants that are organized in strategic rows or perhaps even ached to a wall for easy care, to pocketed gardens that are made up of felt pockets that allow you tuck your plants or herbs into their easy to manage pockets, the creative vertical gardening ideas are many.

Yet another creative vertical garden idea, is to simply hang a burlap sack on the wall and fill it up with soil and plant away or even take one of your old closet door shoe organizers and hang it on the wall filling each of the shoe compartments with soil and seeds.
If you prefer to do your gardening in greater size, and certainly many people do, then breaking apart a pallet and nailing its individual panels to a wall, then arranging your planters strategically on each of the pallet boards could be one of the best vertical garden ideas for you. If you have limited horizontal space in your home, then vertical gardening is the perfect technique and plan for you. The number of creative vertical garden ideas are endless and each allows people to bring their gardening to a whole new level.  It not only affords you the space you need, but allows you to garden in style and saves you a whole lot of money as well.
Vertical gardening ideas can be simple or complex, whatever your preference is. From growing pole beans, cucumbers or winter squash vertically or pumpkins, tomatoes and even melons in a vertical garden, the options are abundant. Because vertical gardens take up so much less space and are both easy to maintain and easy to harvest, people everywhere are taking advantage of this simple gardening idea. Though the benefits are many, vertical gardening does have a few limitations.

What to Grow In Your Vertical Garden
From herbs and salad greens to pole beans, cucumbers and winter squash, arranging your plants using vertical gardening allows you an abundance of home grown plants, herbs and vegetables. Additionally, tomatoes, pumpkins, melons and even fruit vines are prime candidates for vertical gardening. Let’s not forget about the herbs. No vertical garden is complete without basil, rosemary, and thyme and why not throw in some lavender and mint too. If gardening is your relaxation and ultimate pleasure, then vertical gardening is sure to be the perfect ‘fun’ experience for you!

The most important thing when choosing seeds is to think about what you like eating. If you hate spinach, you won’t enjoy growing it. If you crave fresh greens on your salad, then planting lettuce is a fantastic choice for a beginner. It be easy to germinate and gives you results fairly quickly. Additionally, the showy leaves of lettuce look gorgeous in a pot.

What lettuce seeds are best? Little Gem is a favorite of this writer, as it sprouts easily and does well in a pot. If you plan on filling an entire Smart Farm with Little Gem seeds,  you may want to purchase more than just a little packet of seeds. It is better to plant more than you need, as you can thin the seedlings, later. You can purchase the seeds in various quantities here.

Lettuce is a cool season crop and there are a lot of different vegetables that you can grow in a Mr. Stacky. If your weather is really hot and sunny, you may want to consider gardening something that thrives in heat. Bush beans do well in warm weather and the seeds can be planted directly in a pot. While green beans are the variety you may know best, consider choosing something fun like Dragon Tongue that have spatters of purple on the full grown beans.

Be sure to check this blog regularly for more tips on growing with the Mr. Stacky Smart Farm. If you’d like to order a Smart Farm, click here and enter in “growjoy” as the coupon code to save $50.

Herbs are one of the best crops you can grow in a vertical garden. In fact, many herbs grow better when planted vertically. They seem to appreciate not being stuck in the ground, and getting up in the air a bit, will help to improve air circulation around the herbs, Improved air circulation will ensure both a healthier and faster-growing crop. But, what herbs should you grow in your vertical garden?
 3 Starter Herbs for Your Vertical Garden
First of all, ask yourself which herbs you enjoy eating. There is no point in growing herbs which you are not going to use. If you don’t cook or eat a certain herb raw you would simply be wasting space. When you have been into this easy way of gardening for a while, you will have realised there are certain vertical garden ideas and plants which work better than others. That is where you should start when it comes to growing herbs.
Rosemary In the Vertical Wall Garden
One of the herbs which seem to thrive in any vertical wall garden is the herb rosemary. Normally we think of rosemary as a bushy herb, but in fact, creeping varieties of rosemary are available. They are just as colorful and tasty as the bush variety.
The great thing about growing rosemary is that you can use most of the plant. The lovely blue flowers can be added to salads and taste great together with most salad varieties such as Little Gem. It is easy to think of uses for the fragrant leaves. Rosemary tastes fantastic together when cooked with lamb, but don’t stop there. This easy to use herb can be used when preparing chicken and potato dishes. Cooking with fresh rosemary will soon have you wondering why you ever used the dried herb.
Rosemary will also help you to attract pollinators such as bees to your vertical garden which are welcome wildlife addition to any type of garden.
Parsley Loves to Be Harvested
Parsley seeds can take some time to germinate, but if you have the patience to wait for them to do so, you will end up with a strong and healthy plant. There are different varieties of parsley you can grow, and you may want to experiment with a couple of them. Flat leaf and curly leaf parsley have distinct tastes, and growing both will help you to make the most out of vertical gardening ideas. For instance, did you know flat leaf parsley makes an excellent salad vegetable? Both varieties can be used as a medicinal herb and parsley is known to cleanse the blood and balance blood sugar.
The best thing about parsley is that it loves to be harvested. The more often you harvest parsley, the healthier the plant will stay.
Don’t Ignore Chives
Chives is one of those herbs which has taken a bit of “backseat” in recent years. It is such as shame as it is one of the most user-friendly herbs. Once you have grown chives, you are bound to become addicted to the flavor of this herb and how easy it is to use in a variety of ways. The lovely flowers can even be put in a vase and used as decoration.
Chives do not need to be cooked to bring out the flavor. Just toss a handful on your potatoes and get ready for a new taste sensation. Chives can also be added to olive oil to make a wonderful infused oil to drizzle on your salads. The herb is garlic’s best friend and a wonderful companion plant to the herb basil which is another herb you should consider for your vertical wall garden.
When it comes to herbs which can be used in a vertical garden, you are unlikely to run out of ideas. Remember herbs loved to be harvested and fussed over and will keep your vertical growing space looking green and fresh throughout the year.
There are some exotic herbs which you can use to make sure you add new and exciting vertical gardening ideas all of the time. Try growing lemongrass and Epazote which is used in Caribbean cooking, you will be pleasantly surprised how easy both herbs are to grow.

Don’t forget that herbs have medicinal uses. Lemongrass can help to treat a cold or respiratory illness, and rosemary can clear headaches and migraines. If you only let it, your herbal vertical garden can mean so much more than just a food source. With the right kind of herbs, you will have your own pharmacy in your garden. What can be better than that?