The world population in mid 2016 is projected to be 7,404,976,783, and that number grows by about 1.07% each year. This means that we will run out of land suitable for farming one day in the near future, and by that time, we will have more people to feed as well. Mega-farming, a very large factory style farm, used to produce mass amounts of food, is a fairly new technique used widely in the U.S. over the last few decades. These mega farms often do not feed their animals what they are genetically designed to eat. They often use growth hormones and antibiotics, which end up in the ground, waterways, and creeks. On mega vegetable farms, pesticides are often used, which end up in our food and environment. These pesticides are also killing the very animals necessary to produce fruits and vegetables, for example the honey bee. Farm workers are often immigrants, who are treated poorly and paid very little. With minimal room to grow our own food, and distrust for the items presented for purchase at the grocery store, what are we to do to feed ourselves and save the planet?
If you want it done right, do it yourself!
The answer to the food problem is the same answer being used to deal with the population problem. The answer is to build up. The vertical garden has been growing in popularity since the 1980’s, and it can be done in many different ways. The concept started out in 1938 as an architectural “green wall system” created by Stanley Hart White. The idea was not created with vegetables in mind. Recently, with growing concern about quality and cost of food, the vertical vegetable garden has been rising in popularity. This type of garden can be done in any way your imagination will allow you. Vertical gardens can be made of old pallets, ladders, shelving, trellises, hanging baskets and so much more.
Getting started with vertical gardening
The first thing you need to do when building a vertical garden is to determine the amount of sunlight you are able to provide your plants. If you live in a space that is shaded by other buildings, you would want to choose your vegetables accordingly. The best choices for shaded areas are leafy vegetables like lettuce, cabbage and greens. If you get plenty of sunshine you will have more options, such as tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and beans.
Shelving is a great option to use for a vertical garden. Though any type of shelving can be used, it is best to use something that will not rot or fall apart, due to the water and dirt. Also, try to find something that has slats, to allow the most sun possible, and the water to trickle down from the top shelf to the bottom.
Hanging baskets are also a great option. Plants that do best in baskets are peppers, cherry tomatoes or sweet potato vine. Hanging baskets need to be watered often as the constant airflow around them can dry out the dirt.
Trellises can be used in combination with shelves or pots in order to support vine plants such as tomatoes, squash or cucumber. You can use your imagination when creating a trellis too, for example an old baseball pitching net would work wonderfully.
Be creative and adapt your garden to your own unique situation. Old coffee cans or any other kind of large container can be used for vegetables. Plants are adaptable, give them good soil, sunshine, and water, and they will grow almost anywhere!
Vertical Gardening was last modified: September 23rd, 2017 by