How does the Vertical Eco Garden™ work?
Roots are attracted through a geo layer into a continual root zone. This provides a mechanical root anchorage, so heavy soil is not needed for plant stability. A more loose aerated non compacting potting soil can be used. The microbes that produce phosphorus and root growth hormones need air. Also, in the Vertical Eco Garden design, the entire root zone is lined with geotextile to distribute water and nutrients slowly downward, allowing even absorption. Microbial plant foods, fish emulsion and compost are applied to the opening at the top of each vertical chamber located below the drip irrigation. This design also facilitates Air Root Pruning, (when a root encounters air it stops growing forward and sends out smaller side roots) that enables the vegetable plant to make use of the growing / incubating of the bio-intensive cultures. According to an article Title ‘ The Real Dirt On Potting Soil’ by #TomOgrenPottingSoil, if water does not run out of the bottom of a potted plant within a few seconds, the potting soil is wrong. The vertical Eco Garden uses this principle, but stacks the plants in a continual vertical root chamber for water and nutrient utilization.
Does the Vertical Eco Garden™ require special potting soil?
There are several options for potting soil. If you are not in an arid climate, “Off the shelf” organic potting soil will work. Save the bags (storing your garden) Coir base potting soil is best for arid climates. Again, according to Tom Ogren, most potting soils need considerable Amending. However, there are expensive potting soils that might not need amending, but amending your own potting soil is more reasonably priced, and you can use the materials for later feeding. A quick guide to follow is to amend with bone meal, blood meal, a microbial plant food & worm castings, and hardwood charcoal. Just follow the recommendations on the bag. There are potting soils that use chemical fertilizers to feed over a period of time that will also work. In addition to these, there are also chemical plant foods for amending and periodic feeding. Gardening is not an identity, so we will make no judgement here.
You can make your own potting soil. All of the components are also available at your garden centers. A little planning goes a long way. The main ingredient is called “#Soillessgrowingmedium. These are most commonly, Peat Moss, Spagnam Peat Moss is better, and coir. If you are in an arid climate, use coir as the base. If not, I still recommend at least 25% coir in your soil-less growing medium portion. To see an organic potting soil formula and recommendations for growing specific vegetables, please go to the blog page and read the formula in the article on how to get High yields given Restrictions on Conventional Gardening.
How do I store my Vertical Eco Garden™ at the end of the season?
It is not necessary to store your Vertical Eco Garden™ indoors when not in use. If you prefer to store it, allow your Vertical Eco Garden™ to dry out (don’t water it). In arid climates, it is best to cover your garden when not in use, especially during the peak summer months. Remove plants and soil from each growing pocket. Place a tarp or a 5-gallon bucket under the Vertical Eco Garden™, open the hook-and-loop (Velcro) flaps at the bottom of each rooting chamber and release the soil. If necessary, shake the Vertical Eco Garden™ or use a stick to push the soil out. Store the soil for reuse next growing season. Fold the Vertical Eco Garden™ flat and store it in a plastic bag with a few mothballs to discourage mice. Basement storage is ideal in colder climates. Avoid storing in hot storage areas. Room temperature or below is best. Note: mothballs are ineffective below 20° F.
How much does the Vertical Eco Garden™ weigh?
The Vertical Eco Garden™ itself weighs only a few pounds. Fully planted and hydrated, the Big VEG weighs about 150 pounds; the Mini VEG weights about 50 pounds.
How do I hang my Vertical Eco Garden™?
The Vertical Eco Garden™ features heavy-duty grommets spaced at 8-inch intervals, so you can secure it to any vertical surface with hooks, wood screws or any adequate fastener. The Big VEG weighs about 150 pounds when fully planted and filled with average potting soil, so be sure to secure it to a structure that can hold that much weight. A coir base potting soil will weigh more as more water weight is retained. It is best to over-compensate /over-build when planning for a garden installation.
Where should I locate my Vertical Eco Garden™?
Like a traditional garden, you should locate your Vertical Eco Garden™ in an area that gets full sun for at least six hours per day. If possible, locate it near a water source. If your location does not get full sun, face your garden towards the south, southeast or southwest, which ever gets to longest sun exposure.
What if my location doesn’t get full sun?
Consider growing plants that require less sun or can tolerate partial shade. Many varieties of lettuce and peppers, for example, will produce well in these conditions. Check with your local garden center or other sources to identify the plants that will work best for you. Do a search on #ShadeTolerantVegetables for limited sun / mostly shaded conditions.