Just got forwarded a link to this really interesting article about a woman who is growing greens in rows of gutters mounted along the side of her house. She only has one good side with sun (she lives in Alaska) and had little yard so this is what she came up with. Looks delicious! Makes me wish I could try it.
I'm a renter, and I live in a brick house. Both of those things would make this difficult. Yet, I admire the problem-solving spirit! Besides, I'm still designing my self-watering salad table based off the MD extensions design. Thats enough to keep me busy for now :)
Even if you are a renter, you could still use gutters like this. Make a frame of 2x4 wood, lean it against your house (or a fence post or two) then fasten the gutters. You mentioned something about a self-watering table...use the legs of the table for vertical space to mount the gutters! You could also hang the gutter along a fence, or even from a clothes line.
One question...how do you make sure that the materials you are using are food-safe? I'm trying to build raised beds out of reclaimed materials and I know I have to be very careful with all woods and metals. Any info on gutters?
What an awesome idea, but... I don't think I'd actually build them on a house though, and go the mount-the-gutters-on-a-frame route. Oh man, I bet the homeowners association in my neighborhood would LOVE to tell me to go jump in the retention pond if I asked to install something like that in the "in-laws" yard... Matter of fact, the "in-laws" might finally decide I've gone of the deep end, too! :)
I'd probably buy new plastic gutters if I was going to try this, and not use reclaimed ones. If the gutters were in such bad shape that they had to be replaced on the house, what good might they be for planting? I could understand recycling old gutters if it's after the apocalypse and we're desperate to grow food quickly and compactly. But if I'm going to make a big growing project like this and there's plenty of nice new materials I can get to make it attractive as well as functional, I'd be taking the new plastic gutters route.
As for being concerned about toxic residues from old wood or metal gutters, I probably wouldn't trust them to be safe either. But again, if there's an apocalypse - toxins in my food that might kill me more slowly than starving to death would be lower on my survival priority list.
On a similar note, though... if one has a rainwater collection barrel (that isn't plastic) fed from the (most likely) metal gutters on your (asphalt?) roof - shouldn't they be similarly concerned about contaminants?
Somewhere in DG another gardener used this for his greens. I've used it, too, the only problem I have is keeping it watered enough. I plan to empty them and change the soil to something that doesn't dry out so fast. They also worked for strawberries in my winter greenhouse, none ever made it into the house, I ate them as I picked them.
I have seen that gutter idea before and think it a really good idea. I was thinking that if one built an 'A' frame type of deal with 2x4's coming down as multiple legs, then 2x4's attached horizontal to the ground, you could then mount the gutters. I am thinking it would not be too difficult to then run drip lines along each 'row' of gutters. As far as a home owners' association (don't you just hate those), if you had attractive base plants and maybe some nice big tomato plants in the ground at each end, they would be quite attractive and the drip lines would not even show. Nice green plants in the yard. Hmm, maybe I am talking myself into a project to grow greens in Fall (summer too hot here). They would be deep enough, maybe, for beets too. No HOA here, just hungry rabbits and GOPHERS!
How about using chain instead of wood to suspend the gutters? Build the basic wooden a-frame, then run link chain horizontally from one end to the other. use S-hooks or something to suspend the gutters from the horizontal chains...
You don't need just gutters. You can mount tubes the same way.
I would run a 1/4" soaker hose down the gutters or tubes and use a timer. That way you could water twice a day during the hot time.
Another advantage, You could build a very narrow greenhouse, almost like a vertical hot box, to protect the gutters or tubes during the cooler weather.
I love this idea. I have a chain link fence that could easily hold 2-3 rows of gutters, suspended by chains. They would face the sunlight all day and by putting the soaker hoses in them, the problem is solved for watering. Thanks everyone for your ideas!
I was thinking of one way to do something like this would be to make an A frame on a base on wheels. Then lay the pallets on the frame, then add the gutters. That way one is not shadowing the other, easy drainage and when/if your weather started to get too warm or sun too hot, it could be wheeled somewhere else. Just a thought.
I was thinking the same thing about using the pallets to hold the gutters. I live in a rental and I have a privacy fence, but the owner hasn't really taken care of the fence as he lets the in ground sprinklers hit the fence and so the pallets up against the fence to hold the gutters would work perfect and hide an ugly fence... great minds think alike...LOL
What a brilliant idea . I live in Australia and this would work a treat pretty much anywhere. I once saw this in a more commercial set up using hydroponics with the liquid fed in a recirculating pump system.