Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hanging Sustainable Gardening

If you live in a townhouse, apartment, or small home you may think that creating a sustainable garden in a tight space is a pipe dream. The truth is that with a little bit of ingenuity you can create a beautiful and sustainable hanging garden that will produce herbs, vegetables, and fruit.

To build a hanging sustainable garden you will need:

    A coco planter and hanging basket
    Outdoor plant hanger for walls or patio overhangs
    Shepard's hook (optional if an affixed plant hanger is not possible)
    Garden shears
    Patio tomato plant
    2 herb plants
    Peat Moss Soil infused with Miracle Grow
    Compost from your home compost bin (optional)
    Gardening gloves (optional)

1.    Prepare the hanging sustainable garden basket. Remove the coco planter from the basic. If you bought the basket and planting liner as a unit you will need to use your shears to cut the four or more pieces of plastic holding the coco liner in place. Once you have freed the liner from the planter use your shears and cut the radius of the circle (outward edge to center).

2.    Prepare the plants for planting. Remove your tomato plant and herb plants from their store planters. Loosen the dirt around each of the plants making sure not to damage the roots. If the roots are very tightly confined around the soil then lightly squeeze around the soil to loosen it just a bit. This may be the case if you purchase your plants from a nationwide chain like Wal-Mart or Target. Once the plants are loose and ready place them gently to the side.

3.    Plant your tomato plant. Turn your tomato plant upside down and gently slide the stalk through the hole of the Coco planting basket. You may find it easier to hang the basket and slide the plant in that way. Once the tomato plant is in place you will need to take the coco planting liner and open it at the cut. Place it gently around the tomato plant so that it encircles the plant while sitting normally in the planting basket.

4.    Cover and secure the tomato plant. With the tomato plant and coco planting liner in place it's time to cover the tomato plant with soil. I chose the peat moss soil infused with Miracle Grow. You can purchase it at any garden department. It is lightweight, retains water wonderfully, and offers wonderful nutrients for the plants. It is also around $3 or more less than other forms of potting soil.

5.    Plant the herbs. I decided on basil and oregano for my top plants. They are easily maintained and do well in the same soil as the tomato plant. Position the two herb plants in the soil over the tomato plant. A good option is to place them on either side of the tomato plant roots. Cover with the remaining soil and secure the herb plants just as you would normally.

6.    Water and hang your new hanging sustainable garden. If you have a preexisting plant hanger on your patio then you can simply hang your planter. Unfortunately, many rented locations will not allow for permanent fixtures like plant hooks. In that case you can purchase a shepherds hook that is at least 64” but ideally 86” inches. Secure the hook into the ground and hang your planter. Water your hanging sustainable garden and enjoy.

I have created this garden in the past with great success. I have recently started a new hanging sustainable garden and will be posting ongoing pictures and progress reports of my endeavor. If you enjoy this gardening technique then you may want to expand later. You can use this technique to plant cucumbers, strawberries, lettuce, peppers, and other herbs. An option available is to also utilize your home compost bin to enrich the soil of your hanging sustainable garden. For more about home composting see my post on creating your own compost bin.

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