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Grow a herb or vegetable garden in the smallest of spaces
If you only have a small outdoor space, a vertical herb garden is a great way to grow food. Ideal for balconies, urban gardens, and busy people
There are two main challenges to growing edibles in containers – first of all maximizing space for plants, especially on a small patio. The other is watering. Each of your pot plants will need to be watered every single day. This can be draining both literally and figuratively. What if there was a way to grow more in a small space while reducing time spent watering, as well as the amount of water you use?
GreenStalk have come up with a solution and they sent me their stacking planter to try out. This is how I planted it up with a variety of garden herbs including sage, thyme, basil and oregano. The video below shows the entire planting process but I go through it in text and pictures below too.
This vertical planter is perfect for growing herbs in
I had a long think about what I’d like to plant in my Greenstalk and settled on the idea of a vertical herb tower. It’s much larger than a traditional terracotta herb planter so the plants will have more space to grow to their full potential. I also decided to set my planter up in the greenhouse so that tender herbs like basil will survive. The Isle of Man has a cool climate and growing some herbs outdoors is really chancing it.
I was sent the 5-tier planter in their ‘Stone’ color but in the end only used four of the five levels. I’ve put the last away for the future and when I eventually re-plant it up in a space with a bit more height. Even with the four tiers I had 24 planting pockets and I ended up using about 100 litres (3.6 cubic feet) of peat-free compost to fill it.
The planter was easy to put together
The planter arrived in a compact bundle in the mail with very minimal packaging. It’s relatively lightweight too so the shipping cost isn’t too bad if you decide to order it online. The set comes wrapped together and includes:
- Five stackable modules
- Watering disks
- Water reservoir
- Marigold seeds
- A Gardener’s Guide for using the planter
- Not included in my set but optional to order: a ‘Spinner’ or Lazy Susan for being able to turn the planter
I put the planter together my own way
As you can see from the instructions above, the planter is simple to assemble. You fill each module with potting compost, plant it up, set the watering disk on top, then stack all the modules together. At the bottom of each module are ‘feet’ that lock into the module below. No tools are required.
I decided to fill the modules with compost as I stacked them because I wasn’t sure how heavy they’be be. It worked out fine but it was a little more difficult to put the plants in after. I think that if you’re sowing with seed you might want to try it this way. With plants, probably follow the directions to fill each one first and then stack them together.
I planted the planter up with a combination of thyme, basil, oregano, sage, and strawberries
The planter is circular and so plants can grow on all sides. The placement I chose for my planter makes sure that all sides get some light so I planted herbs and strawberries all around without too much concern. However, if you chose to place your own against a wall you might need to leave some pockets empty or choose plants that grow in shady conditions
As I planted each, I sprinkled organic fruit & veg pellets into each hole to give each plant an extra boost of food. Planted this way they’ll probably last a couple of years before they’ll need the compost replaced. A good initial watering and then we were set for watering it from the top water reservoir.
The most clever thing about this planter is that you only have to water all of your plants in one place. Literally fill the top of the water reservoir and the water will trickle down through the watering disks to give all of your plants a drink. It can save so much time.
I was a little unsure about when to stop watering though and when I first filled the reservoir I heard a gurgle that startled me. You’ll see my reaction in the video I put up next week! Hilarious I’m sure. You know when it’s time to stop watering when you see water flowing out from the bottom module.
Each of the watering disks that sits above a module is a mini water reservoir. It slowly trickles the water through small holes to the plants below.
Attractive and compact design
I’ll need to wait out some time before I know how well the planter grows plants but I’m feeling pretty sold on it already. The design makes sense, the low-maintenance watering is attractive, and the entire piece looks modern. It’s made from PVC plastic that’s guaranteed to not fade in color for at least five years and I love the ‘Stunning Stone’ shade.
It’s also very sturdy and the minimalist design will likely stand the test of time. And then best of all, the planter matches my cat! Oh Cheebies, you hoped the green would be catnip didn’t you?