Vertical Gardens

Vertical Garden in London designed by Patrick Blanc

Making use of vertical wall space located in a sunny spot is a great way to grow your garden. In fact you don’t need pumps or complicated equipment to start growing your own vegetable garden. As long as you have a consistent amount of sunshine of around 6 hours per day and a collection of plastic drink containers and some ingenuity you can create a mini vegetable garden and have it self-water the system. Consider this novel approach to harnessing gravity to feed your garden.

Easy Vertical Bottle Garden

All you need is a small amount of vertical space around a balcony or an open window which can hang or store a vertical array of drink bottles that can grow all your herbs and lettuce easily. Recycle as many of your plastic drink containers. Make sure they are roughly the same size. Remove the labels.  The larger 2 litre soft drink containers  are ideal.

Drill a hole through each screw-on bottle top lid so that water can drip from one bottle down to the next.

Cut the base of the second bottle so the neck of the first bottle can funnel into the second bottle. Secure the bottles together, using plastic silicone or a glue gun to make sure your array of bottles are held securely in place.

An opening in the bottle for the seedling to grow through can be easily cut out with a serrated knife or a sharp pair of scissors.  This will allow your plants to grow out and be picked.

Fill each bottle half full with potting mix and hang the assembly in a sunny location. Water the top container and watch any surplus water drip down to the remaining bottles. An empty bottle at the very bottom of your bottle garden can be added to collect any excess water. When full you can reuse this water and start the process trickling down once again.

This YouTube video shows the finished garden in action.

Patrick Blanc

The vertical garden is the brainchild of French botanist and artist, Patrick Blanc who was inspired by the rainforests of Malaysia and Thailand and the layers of different plants that grew in the tropical forests. Its estimated that there are around 30,000 plants suitable for growing vertically.

Patrick Blanc’s vertical walls are usually large public buildings which are covered with a layer of felt, which will be kept moist by pumping a water solution with nutrients up from a 2000 litre reservoir below. The plants are fastened to that felt and their roots are made to contact with the water and the nutrients to grow. It’s a highly sophisticated hydroponic system.

“In my work, what I think is interesting is to try to install a vertical garden in the places where you think life is not possible.” he says. “Car parks on the faces of the bridges, in the metro for instance in the railway stations and a shopping mall.”

“You cannot see that you could have a kind of a natural cliff inside. Every time it’s possible to show that the nature and the man can be close, even in the worst environments…. I think really I’m an optimistic guy and I try to show that everything is possible between the man and nature,” Patrick said.

Patrick Blanc vertical garden in Paris