An Eco-Friendly Vertical Garden of Homegrown Edible Plants
One of our family goals is to have a garden filled with fruit trees, edible plants and herbs, and perhaps a chicken or two to give us fresh eggs daily. However, since we've been mostly living in big cities or areas with expensive real estate, we are still working on that goal. We currently have a small patio area with limited grounds for plants, but this year, due to a salvaged bookshelf and a stroke of genius from my husband, we've been relishing some homegrown edible plants from our vertical garden all summer.
Here's what he did and how you can grow one, too!
It all started with the salvaged bookshelf pictured above. I thought my husband could use some extra storage space in the patio area, but he started toying around with the shelf, unscrewed some of the planks, and turned the shelf into a ladder that could host recycled containers as a vertical farm. He started collecting plastic containers of different sizes, turning them upside-down, and screwing the caps into the ladder shelf.
The idea of putting life, literally, into recycled containers was exciting to us, not to mention the prospect of multiplying our available space for homegrown, edible plants. He then bought wooden planks and started assembling the same type of ladder shelves himself. For a few days, our patio was chaotically covered with wooden planks, then weeks of labor ensued, and by early summer, we had shelves filled with green, edible plants!
This summer, we've been eating salad, arugula (rocket), zucchini (courgette), fennel, bell peppers, and strawberries from the vertical garden. We haven't traveled abroad so far this summer, but we have homegrown basil and cherry tomatoes for an insalata Caprese and fresh mint leaves for Moroccan mint tea, bringing the Mediterranean to our plates here at home in California.
Right now, we're waiting for the baby watermelon to grow up for a refreshing summer dessert.
I can hardly describe the joy of being able to pluck fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden, given the limited "farming space" that we have on the patio. Even if you live in a big city, if you have but just a small balcony area, you can easily make a ladder shelf like this to grow your own fresh greens. Doing this invites you to reuse/recycle and involve the kids to grow edible plants together. The final product is healthy and delicious. What a chic but cheap project!