Alice Whitehead shares her method on how to create a vertical garden from guttering.
If you have a small garden, you know that every inch counts when it comes to growing your own. So maybe it’s time to grow up! A gutter garden is an affordable way to grow off the ground, and utilise your house or shed wall. It’s the ideal spot for shallow-rooted veg at head height – away from pests, but perfect for picking.
For this project, we used:
- 2 half round gutter pipes (112mm x 112mm)
- 6 gutter external stops
- 6 gutter fascia brackets
1. It’s best to go for the larger width guttering as this gives more depth and space for plants. But using old guttering is also a great way to recycle.
2. Find a suitable fence or wall to attach your fascia brackets. Remember that the guttering will be heavier once it’s filled with plants and (wet) soil, so ensure the wall is load-bearing.
3. Drill drainage holes into the guttering at even spacings. This ensures your gutter planter is free draining and the plants don’t get waterlogged.
4. Clip your guttering in place and add your external stops so the compost doesn’t fall out when you water.
5. Fill with peat-free compost, mixed with a little grit and well-rotted homemade compost.
Remember your gutter garden will rely on you for nutrients, so expect to feed it every two weeks during the growing season.
6. Plant up with salads and flowers.
Strawberries such as alpine strawberries, which have smaller, less weighty fruit, do well, as do tumbling tomatoes such as ‘Cheery Falls’ or ‘Tumbling Tom’-.
Lay the plug plants on their sides, almost horizontal, as if you were planting up a hanging basket and cover with soil. Give them lots of growing room as the soil is shallow.
7. Water well and keep an eye on moisture levels as your gutter garden can dry out quickly. If you put up several shelves of guttering, they can help to water each other. Our guttering is above the shed guttering, so excess water goes back into the water butt!
Most guttering comes in 2m lengths so if you have leftovers you can use them as seed trays. If you sow into these, you can transfer the resulting seedlings straight into the soil.
Dig a trench the same size as your gutter and just slip the seedlings out into the soil. Guttering is also a great place to sow quick crops such as salads and pea shoots indoors on the windowsill.