Planting in brown plastic gutters (Google / Our eventual homestead / Juneau empire)

Read at : Google Alert – vertical gardening

http://oureventualhomestead.com/2011/10/vertical-gardening/

Vertical Gardening

by

http://juneauempire.com/stories/072508/nei_309624417.shtml

How does your garden grow?

Former Iowa resident presents a different way to plant veggies

By SUZANNE FORSLING

I am from Iowa, so I have an inherent need to grow vegetables. Each winter, I dream up ways of trying to garden in Juneau’s environment which, so far, has really frustrated me.

Nothing I tried works very well. Like many homes in the Juneau area, our yard has its problems. We live near the glacier, so the soil is cold and has very little organic matter, there are lots of big trees shading it, and we have all the slugs and root maggots anyone could want, with porcupines, cats, bears and ravens meandering to boot.

There is only one side of our house that gets much sunshine, and, of course, that side of the house has the smallest yard. It is really just an alleyway between ours and the neighbors. I might eventually put in some cold frames, but can’t really afford that this year with all the extra money going to the high energy and food prices.

So my brain has kept working the issue, even while I was asleep. One morning in late May, I woke up with an idea that seems to be a real solution for our situation, and I thought it might help others as well. I had heard about people using rain gutters around deck railing at a master gardener class that I took this past spring from the Cooperative Extension Service.

But our deck is on the wrong side of the house. Then an idea came to me that was a little unusual and might involve a little risk. The idea is essential this: Why not put rain gutters in rows along the wood siding on the sunny side of the house. It might look weird, but that was where all the heat, sun and protection from damage is best. I talked to my husband, Pete, about it and he agreed it was worth a try.

We went to Home Depot and selected some “attractive” brown plastic gutters along with all the required parts so that we could mount them in one long row. (The total length or a row would be about 20 feet). Pete drilled some very small holes in the bottom of the gutters to let excess water drain out after he mounted them on the siding.

I filled the gutters with Miracle Grow Garden Soil to about half full. I put in some time release fertilizer and added the other half of the soil (the extra fertilizer was needed because I knew that frequent watering would drain out the nutrients quickly).

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.