Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Freedom Award Finalist: "Growing Vertical Veggies"

by gat31, as originally posted to SHTF Blog

Rangerman has been kind enough to let me write an article in response to those of us who would like to have a garden, but don’t really have the space. So I have been looking into alternative gardening methods to help us all out. I’m going to give you a few methods I have found and maybe you can get some ideas. I live near a company called Vertigro. They do hydroponic gardening. Like its name suggests, you grow vertically. Now this is a great method for the space challenged, however it can be pricey to do the initial set up. So feel free to research that method if you’re budget allows, but here’s some more economical yet workable options.

One method I have seen is PVC pipes and chains. You hang two chains roughly 3 to 4 feet apart (depends on space) and you take 4″ and 6″ pipe, cut out the top, and drill drain holes in the bottom. Then put end caps on that have a hole drilled in them. Attach hanging hooks and wal-lah, you have “rows” for gardening.

Top row is for your smaller stuff, radishes, butter crunch or romaine lettuce, bean sprouts, herbs, etc. This is also a way you can start plants for later in ground if you are in colder regions and can’t put plants in the ground yet. Middle rows will hold hanging or vining plants, peas or beans. Bottom layer is for items that has bigger heavier items, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc. The bottom layer(s) is better for the 6″ pipe.

Another option is trellis growing. I found a long window type planter at a thrift store for 2 dollars. I filled it with dirt, planted a squash, zucchini, lima bean, and pea plant. Set the planter in front of a strip of lattice board and let them do their trick. As they grow, guide the plants up the trellis and they will be great. Not to mention all those plants make a flower first so the nosy neighbors will just think you have nice flowers.

You could also use one of those little arch things that people have at the end of their walkway and plant beside each foot of those too. If you don’t have lattice board, you can take eye hooks, put them in the ceiling, then wrap twine, floor to ceiling around your planter a couple times and use that for guides as well.

The other day I saw strawberries in a hanging basket, and we’ve all seen the topsy-turvey tomato growing method. Hanging baskets and pots are always options and can be used in conjunction with any of these other methods. I even had a friend of mine plant seeds under his window AC unit. (He lives in a 1 room apt.) Remember you’re not trying to feed the masses, just give your family a few fresh items that will help you survive if stores are closed.

Just a side note here for anyone doing gardens this year. Seeds can be expensive so anyplace you can cut corners always help. Go to your grocery store for your bean and pea plants. In the dry bean aisle, they have several options. All those beans that are not broken can be planted. I found a 9 bean soup bag. Most of those were intact and were plantable. Lot cheaper to buy a 1.49 bag of peas then 2.00 an ounce envelope of peas. Another option I found was the dollar store. At my Dollar Tree, they had seeds that are too late to plant this year for my region on sale for a quarter a pouch. My seed bank for next year is filling up nicely. These can be kept in a cool place or even in the fridge or freezer for next season. Also only plant what you need. Seed prices keep climbing much like gold and silver. I’ve limited my garden to 4 plants or less of each item. We won’t eat anymore than that so I saved the rest for next year.

Happy gardening everyone and feel free to add ideas for those with very little growing space!

Help us determine the best survival-related article of 2011 as written for Safecastle's 2011 Freedom Awards contest. See all the finalists in the article and video categories: www.safecastle.blogspot.com

3 comments:

Be informed said...

I like this, it is very clever and deals with the water issue as it becomes so expensive in dry climates to openly water your garden. The ONLY thing I would liked to see mentioned was the light issue as many people have deep shadows cast by neighbor's trees and what if you have to grow vegetables via grow lights, especially during the winter indoors. Nice information for everything else.

Anonymous said...

This is great information! So many people think that they can't grow food if they don't have a farm. This information goes a long way to helping them out of that mindset.

Maria Stahl said...

Clever growing idea and I really appreciated the tip on buying beans and peas/soup mix at the grocery store rather than buying seed beans and peas. (I tried that with black beans this year.)