Walls of lettuce

Santa Barbara, CA

I haven't made one in a while, but I urge you folks with limited space or with a blithe and adventurous spirit to build a verticle garden -- sort of a Hanging Garden at Dave's Garden. It is possible to grow lettuces, dwarf tomatoes, and other greens and naturally small vegetables on vertical or near-vertical structures.

The backing can be an existing wall or a sheet of plywood. I wire poultry netting (one inch) to hooks in the backing and slowly pack prewetted green sphagnum or similar fibrous material in the netting and fill behind with good potting soil as I go. As I progress, I slip transplants though the netting, not crowding the plants too much as I go on with the process. I usually plant the more vigorous and light-loving plants near the top.

Watering is important but gravity helps. Watering from the top and soft misting of the plants and medium on the face will do the job. Because of the restricted rooting space, be sure to fertilize on a regular basis.

Lots of greens can be harvested leaf by leaf as needed. Or if you overplanted, you can thin out by clipping the whole plant.

What ever you do, be sure the wall of plants is well anchored or secured --can be very heavy.

San Lorenzo, CA

Marshseed, this sounds like a really interesting addition to the containers that I garden in. Would be fun to grow a Great Wall o' Salad Greens.

How much space do you leave between the wall and the netting? And does the soil tend to move downward with the first few waterings? Just wondering if the transplants get tangled in the netting if the soil moves downward.

Santa Barbara, CA


Sorry I wasn't clear - I just wanted to layout a general description. What is created is a series of moss-lined pouches attached to the backing. The wholes in the netting are plugged with moss and the space backfilled with good potting mix. Small transplants are slipped through the netting holes and backfill added.

It is true, some settling can occur but additional mix can be added by funnel and firmed up with small pieces of dowel. Some stability of the mix can be had by lining up the pouches above with the down-cinched spaces between lower pouches. It is amazing how soon the plants' root systems bind all together.

An easier variation on the style is to create half-baskets with the aviary wire and plant both the sides and the open top of each one. These half-baskets can be U-stapled to the backing. This system is heavier with more potting mix per planting basket but management is easier.

I used to have school classes design and help make them and grow seedlings to plant the walls.

Recommendation: start small!

San Lorenzo, CA

Ah, I understand now, little pouches of netting. This sounds like a fun project. We have a lot of plywood laying around (and some new space to fill with plants!) after demolishing a workshop in the backyard.

Thanks, marshseed!

Knoxville, TN

wow, marshseed, I like this ideal and I love to use the moss
ok,See if I have it right I have plenty of bird netting,moss,and wood!
Do I just plant my lettuce seeds when everything is ready
nd then mist to let the dirt settle and seed and cover lightly! I think a salad bar would be great,lol Essensia
thanks guys

Knoxville, TN

hey, just wanted to let u know ihave decided to put my
wall along the back of my old wood fence that is on one side of my garden.I will have to attach the board to
the fence because it has openings right?? Am so excited ,I am going to try to grow lettuce.radishes,onions,carrots and thing elsei can stick in there for salads
luv herblady

Santa Barbara, CA

Whoa! herblady!

A fewrecommendations. I haven't tried root crops or plants requiring lots of light and air movement. But who knows what the enterprising green thumb can grow.

You want to have the salad wall nearby for ease of watering -- I also suggest not to put one in windy location because the wall might dry out too fast.

Seeding might work but my best experience is transplanting young seedlings which can easily fit through the aviary wire. I use green sphagnum moss because it holds the planting mix pretty well and absorbs moisture.

So have fun!

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