Have you ever heard of or seen a vertical garden?
If you're not familiar with the different styles of gardening, you may wonder why anyone would grow a garden vertically.
Being able to grow in any situation is important. I’m going to walk you through when a vertical garden could work in your growing situation.
More importantly, I’ll share the different vertical garden irrigation methods which can make your life easier. Irrigation systems can make growing a garden a simpler task and is well worth the investment when it can save you a great deal of time and resources.
Here’s what you must know before jumping on the vertical garden bandwagon:
When Does a Vertical Garden Work?
Vertical gardens are great for many reasons. If you lack space outside, you can implement a vertical garden and still grow a variety of shallow-rooted crops.
A vertical garden would work for apartment dwellers or those who live in the city and don’t have much of a yard. Vertical gardening is a beautiful option for those who would like to create a wall of privacy, block a specific area in their yard, or draw attention to a specific area in their yard.
If you fall into any of these categories, vertical gardening could be for you.
Vertical Garden Irrigation with Gravity Fed Drip Irrigation
Vertical gardens need a special irrigation system. Because they have smaller amounts of soil, they dry up easier.
To avoid watering constantly, installing an irrigation system can save you a great deal of time. Here’s when, why, and how a gravity fed drip irrigation system works best for a vertical garden:
1. Shallow Vertical Gardens
Gravity fed drip irrigation systems work best for the shallow and narrow vertical gardens. Some vertical gardens are created with small pockets for the plants to grow in.
There isn’t a great deal of room for soil. Therefore, you must go with a gravity fed drip irrigation system for the water to drip directly into each pocket.
It will keep the soil moist, the plants growing, and ensure the water won't be wasted by running out of the designated area.
2. Take the Emitter Route
Most gravity fed drip irrigation systems have emitters which attach to the hose. The hose can run from a bladder of water hanging near the vertical garden, it can run from a rain barrel which collects rainwater, or it can be attached to a spigot.
The gravity fed system can be designed where the emitters sit snuggly inside the pocket where the crops are growing.
Water will drip from the emitters at a steady rate to keep the soil consistently moist, giving the crops what they need to produce and keep the soil from drying out.
3. Keeps the Water Flowing
Plants require a good amount of water. If you stick your finger in the soil and it’s dry approximately one inch below the surface, your plants are struggling.
By using an irrigation system, this will avoid the soil from drying out. It’s particularly dangerous for your plants when they don’t grow where they’re surrounded by large amounts of soil.
This is where they pull all their water and nutrients from. When working with smaller growing environments, watering regularly and enough is the top priority.
Choosing the right irrigation system, will stop the concern of wondering whether your plants are receiving enough water.
Vertical Garden Irrigation with Buried Reservoir Irrigation
Some gardeners create larger vertical gardens on a stand. These gardens are still considered vertical gardens, but the plants are growing in horizontal planters which turn into a living wall.
You can water this style of vertical garden differently than you do the vertical gardens which are grown in small pockets of soil.
There still isn’t a great deal of soil in this style of a vertical garden (which makes watering a high priority), but it does give options as to which irrigation system would work best.
You can use a drip irrigation system in this style of vertical garden, but another option is to bury a reservoir of water and allow the soil to perform a suction action.
As the soil needs water, it will suck water from the reservoir. You can use an unglazed terracotta pot called an olla.
The sides are porous, which allows the water to seep through as needed. If this isn’t in the budget, you can also bury a plastic water bottle with small holes in it.
As the soil needs water, it’ll suck it through the holes. This allows the soil to remain moist and balanced. This style of irrigation system is easy to refill when needed.
Keep an eye on the moisture level in the reservoir because you don’t want it to drop below half. When it does, there’s a buildup which can occur and will stop the water from being able to be suctioned through the wall of the reservoir.
Depending upon the weather and size of the reservoir, it may need to be filled anywhere from once a week to every couple of days.
Tips for the Vertical Gardener
There are a few things you should know when irrigating a vertical garden. Here are the items to be aware of and look out for:
1. It Works All the Way Around
Some people use vertical gardens inside and outside of their homes. They make a wonderful natural décor item in your home.
Yet, they can be used for more functional purposes outside of your home. Either way, both irrigation systems work.
Don’t assume because your plants are indoors, you can’t keep the water flowing to them. Drip irrigation and reservoir irrigation shouldn’t make a mess inside your home and should be used whenever possible.
It will save yourself some work and help your plants to have the best opportunity to thrive.
2. System Maintenance
Irrigation systems will require small doses of maintenance along the way. With a drip irrigation system, it’s important to make sure the emitters don’t become clogged.
You should include a filter on the system which the water will run through to block debris from entering the emitters.
However, soil can still clog them. Make this part of your maintenance routine to check them.
When dealing with a reservoir, it’s important to add a lid to the reservoir and keep the water half full at a minimum.
A lid will stop debris from entering the container and stop buildup from occurring inside the reservoir allowing the water to seep through it as needed.
You now know which irrigation systems work best for a vertical garden. Irrigation systems can be used for regular watering or as part of a watering routine while you’re away from home for an extended time.
Either way, both methods should be effective in keeping your plants healthy and thriving. With vertical gardens, you can grow any style of garden anywhere you’d like.