Vertical Herb Garden
A Living Wall of Herbs
by SCMG Steven Hightower
I now have a thriving wall garden of culinary herbs one step outside of my kitchen door--and the project was a snap. These panels are about 20 inches square, and contain 45 modular cells in which to place plants. Each cell is angled downward at the rear, to keep plants and soil from falling out. A system of slits in the top of each cell allows drip irrigation across the top of the panel to gradually trickle down, watering all cells (an instance where the trickle-down theory actually works!).
I screwed together a simple redwood frame and attached it to the panel, and then picked up a few dozen 2" pots of herbs at the local nursery. Voracious spreaders such as mint and marjoram are best left out, but I included chives, several types of thyme, chervil, tarragon, basil, savory, dill and a few arugula plants in a random mosaic. The vertical garden is planted horizontally, fitting each plant in a cell, with enough additional soil to pack it snugly. Typically it's best to leave it for a month or so for the roots to establish a bit, and then elevate it. The whole thing hangs from two hooks screwed into the rafter tails of the roof eaves, with a line from the deck drip irrigation system, and the herb garden 'floats' an inch away from the wall. You could also create a vertical garden with certain vegetables - remembering that those with fairly shallow roots will work the best. Smaller vegetables could be planted in the cell panels, and for larger ones, it might be best to use the felt pocket systems.
While easy to build, vertical gardens shouldn't be considered maintenance free. It takes tinkering to get the irrigation timing right, and you may lose some plants along the way, and have to experiment with placement. But that's true of any garden.