Saturday, January 2, 2010

Vertical Garden Design: Wall Mounted Frame

Step One: Staple a root barrier over one side of a wooden frame. On the outside of the root barrier affix chicken wire to the frame.

Tip 1: We tried using large garbage bags, but found them to be very difficult. Plastic sheeting worked very well. You can see from the picture above that the cut open garbage bags made a very unusual shape that was hard to use to cover the frame. The plastic sheeting has a much more regular shape, so we used it for the rest of the frame.

Tip 2:We also decided to attached the fame to the wall after step one (rather than steep three as it is listed), because we were using an old bunk bed frame that was easier to nail or screw to the wall during before filling with dirt. Due to the large size of the frame, we were afraid the frame would be too heavy and could possibly injure someone. We decided to err on the side of the caution, even though it will be harder to fill the frame with dirt later. One advantage to affixing the frame during this step was that we did not have to put a layer of chicken wire on the wall side of the frame (since the dirt will be held in by the wall).

Tip 3: The best way to attach chicken wire to a wood frame is to use nails. Pound in the nail 2/3rds of the way in and then bend the nail towards the outside of the the chicken wire to pull it taught on the frame.

Step Two: Fill the fame with vertical gardening soil or soil/moss combo. Staple a potato sack to the outside of the frame covering the soil. Affix chicken wire on top of the potato sack.

This photo shows the frames we're working on. It looks a little different than the instructions because we attached it to the wall in step one.

Tip 1: We used manure and compost! We got free manure from a local horse stable and free compost from a local waste site.

Tip 2: Because we affixed the frame to the wall before putting the chicken wire and potato sacks on the frame, we needed to sew the sacks onto the wire with twine. This is the same process used if you are making a vertical garden pocket on a fence. The image to the right shows the seam of two sacks that we overlapped to cover the length of the chicken wire. We recommend making a knot at each end of the twine so it doesn't unravel while you're sewing the potato sack on. Note: If you're having trouble finding it in the store, remember that some hardware stores now call chicken wire "poultry wire."

Step Three: You can either plant the frame on the ground, let the roots develop for a week or two and then attach it to the wall. Or attach the frame to the wall and then plant the garden. To plant, just poke a hole in the potato sack. If needed, hold the plants in with twine.

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