Over the years, as my garden has matured, I’ve found I’ve had fewer and fewer gaps to fill. The good news: the garden looks lush, the weeds are at bay and maintenance is what I decide it is. The bad news: if I want to put in something new, something has to go. This was certainly the case last year when I wanted to put tomatoes into the sunniest corners of the yard. Out came the lavender in the front and out came the pots for the back.
I’m apparently not the only one with space challenges. I open up the flood of garden catalogs coming in, and to a one, they are showcasing ways to plant vertically. There are vertical solutions for …everything: poles with bags for planting “upside down” tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, you name it; vertical bags to hang on fences for lettuce and strawberries; window boxes and rail-sitting hay basket planters for herbs. And the nice part is they can all be seasonal. Once the harvest is complete, the bags and boxes are down and stored (unless you want to plant them with annuals). Remember: just as with your ground dwellers, make sure you have a reliable water source for your aerial garden. One vacation without regular water and all your work is for naught.
An additional trick I’ve discovered with my pots is to “refresh” the dirt each year before planting again. Otherwise I find myself buying bags and bags of new dirt, while looking for hidden corners of the yard to dump the old dirt. To refresh, I empty the dirt from my planters into my wheelbarrow; add worm castings, green sand, time-release fertilizer and water crystals and mix it all up together. If it’s moist, I let it bake in the sun to dry out. (Note: If there is obviously a fungus problem in a particular planter, don’t reuse that dirt.)
If you have comments or your own vertical planting solutions you’d like to share, please visit the blog on my website and let us all know!