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Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2014

IN THE GARDEN

Veggie gardens, in all shapes, sizes

A wall of vegetables: planting and watering

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
GARDENING COLUMNIST FOR THE BLADE
Kelly Heidbreder Kelly Heidbreder
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Do you want to build a vegetable garden? It doesn’t have to be that same old rectangle in the center of your back yard. Instead of building a horizontal garden, build a vertical one. It will save space and even make it easier to harvest.

Byron Wynn, Project Coordinator School Gardening Initiative for the Toledo Botanical Garden, came up with this idea a few years ago and many readers have requested the plan again. It is a curved wall made out of simple elements that will be easy to plant.

I want to build a vegetable in a sunny spot in my yard and include it as a dividing wall around a seating area. I can’t afford to do the rock wall this year, so I think I will try something that is a little more affordable and see if I like it before I commit to the stacked stones.

A wall of vegetables

Here are the supplies you will need for a veggie wall: 4x4 posts, high tensile woven wire fence in four-foot sections, landscape cloth, heavy gauge wire staples, shovel.

Check your local building codes before you dig. After you confirm that you can build a four-foot wall in your yard and have confirmed with the utility companies that you are digging in a clear area, lay out your wall design on the ground first with a hose.

Mark the location for the posts in the ground and dig a hole at least three feet deep so it will be below the frost line and not heave. Let the wire mesh curve between the posts. Two layers of wire fence that will be attached to the outside of the posts and the curve helps keep the wall strong. The space between the wire mesh will be filled with soil, giving you a space about four feet tall, and about six feet wide and four inch deep for planting.

To keep the soil from sifting out of the bottom of the mesh, line the inside of the cavity with black landscape cloth. It will also make it easier to push the plants in the soil from the outside of the wire mesh.

Fill the lined center of your self-buttressing veggie fence with potting soil. Blend in some compost in the mix for fertilizer.

Planting

Once you get the fence filled with soil, you are ready to plant. Add any low growing plant on your wall. If you plant them in clusters on the fence, it also creates a very beautiful pallet of color. Herbs, strawberries and lettuce are a great fit for this project. Plant vining plants like tomatoes and peas on the top and let them hang down the side of the wall using it as a reverse trellis.

You need enough soil in the wall to push the landscape cloth tightly to the mesh. Push the seedlings through the wire opening of the wall, through the black landscape cloth. As the season progresses, the soil will tend to settle toward the bottom of the wall. If the wall starts to bow out, keep it in place with stakes along the bottom.

Watering

Once you tuck the plants into the wall, water it thoroughly with your hose until you see water run from the bottom of the wall. Keep it moist with a drip hose. Lay the drip hose on top of the wall and hook it up to a timer at the spigot coming from your house. Set it to automatically turn on every other day for a few hours.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com 



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