How to Grow a Vertical Garden?
Looking to save some money when it comes to your grocery bill?Â Why not start a garden?
You might be thinking that’s not a new way at all! But there’s a new way of gardening that could dramatically reduce the amount of time and hassle it takes to grow your own food. It’s called vertical aeroponic gardening.
You’ve probably heard of hydroponics. Aeroponics is a specific kind of hydroponics where the plant roots are exposed to air, rather than submerged in water. A pump pushes water up through the vertical tower that houses the plants and waters the routes automatically. This means you do’t have to water your plants every day! In fact, all you have to do is refill the tank of water in the vertical gardening kit every week or two, add some nutrient solution in, and check the pH to make sure it’s in the right range for healthy plant growth.
A vertical garden at O’Hare Airport in Chicago
Vertical gardening has been around for many years. Have you heard of The Land exhibit at the Epcot Center? They’ve had vertical gardens there since they opened in 1982. But until now, vertical gardening has mostly been reserved for large commercial projects and hydroponics experts with the newest cutting edge technologies.
Today,Â vertical gardening kits for the homeÂ are available almost everywhere and the cost of the technology has dropped dramatically. A typical vertical gardening kit costs between $500-$600 and has room for 20-30 plants. Some kits will even come with the plant nutrient solution, a pump, seeds, rock wool to germinate and protect seedlings, pH balancing liquids and pH tester strips, which are all you really need to take care of your plants (as well as the seeds of course!)
If you’re thinking $500 might be a lot to invest in a garden, think about this: plants growing in an aeroponics system grow 2 to 3 times faster than plants growing in soil. This means that instead of just one crop a year, you can get 2, 3 or even 4 or more crops a year. That’s why with just one vertical garden that only takes up 3 square feet of space (plus room for the plants to grow) can produce as much food in one year as a 20 ft by 20 ft garden plot.
Most vertical gardeners find they’re saving between $50 and $100 a month on their grocery bills. So for just a $500-$600 investment, you’re looking at a big drop in your grocery bills!
Not only that, but vertical gardening could be even greener than planting a regular garden. Growing with aeroponics uses just 10% as much water as growing in soil – meaning a huge reduction in water use which could be crucial for the sustainability of living in areas like the Southwestern United States where the water tables are almost completely depleted.
Furthermore, you can grow a vertical garden almost anywhere – outdoors, indoors, on rooftops or even underground like the Plant Lab commercial farming project in the Netherlands (they use grow lamps instead of sunlight). Chefs in New York City, for instance, are using vertical gardens to grow food on rooftops for their restaurants – dramatically reducing their carbon footprint and making good use of the “dead space” in the city.
A chef in New York City harvesting squash from his vertical garden.
So whether you have a lot of land to grow a garden or you live in the city and have almost no room at all, vertical gardening could be a greener way to grow fresh food for your family and reduce your grocery bills. Not only that, but it could hold they key for our country’s food safety, sustainability and food security!