Vertical Gardening — Epic Fail!

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Most of the time, I tell you what works.
Today, I’m going to tell you what didn’t work.
Vertical Gardening.
At least not in the South.
(If you are wondering why I have a patio garden when we have enough land for a small homestead, go here find out about my other garden enemies.
It started off so well.  I went to the great Wally World and bought two shoe organizers.  I went to Lowe’s and picked up a folding trellis.  I grabbed my staple gun and assembled this:
It looked beautiful.  Each pocket was full of dirt and full of promise.  It promised me a lush garden that took up virtually no space.  I got the idea from Pinterest, so how could it possibly go wrong?
At first, all was well.  Each pocket was bursting forth with luscious plant life.  I had daydreams of healthy dinners surrounded by my astonished and totally impressed family who would go out and proclaim my ingenuity to everyone they met.
I mean, look at that color!  How could it go wrong?
But that was Spring, when my Azaleas looked like this:

 

Nothing goes wrong in the South during the Spring.
But we all know what’s coming.
SUMMER.
 
Although we Southerners kid ourselves every year and pretend that this is the year that Summer will be pleasant, we all know the truth.  The heat, drought and bugs are coming.

 

This is my vertical garden now:
The plants that were so perky and lush in the Spring are starting to droop and sag with the coming of Summer.
And every day, whether I water first thing or not, I still see this:
Every. single. day.  My plants suck the moisture out of those pockets in just a few hours.  Then the life just oozes right out of them.  Watering again perks them back up, but only for awhile.
And do you want to know the worst part?  
It’s only the beginning of June.  It isn’t even hot yet.
 (Well, actually, the worst part is having to admit to my husband that I was wrong.  Colossal bummer.)
 
Now I am looking for other (safer) places to transplant my vertical garden plants before it gets too hot and they all die.
If I do a vertical garden again next year (I don’t give up easily), I will add a drip irrigation system and find a way to give each plant more soil.  As hot and dry as the summer gets here, the plant roots need more insulation than these little pockets can give them.
So, this kind of vertical garden may work well in the North, but it definitely isn’t for the South.
On an up note, the rest of my patio garden is doing great:
The lettuces are sweet and tasty!

 

There is a lot more to the patio garden than you can see here, but it gives you an idea.
 I even have figs that are nearly ready!

 

 

The moral of this story?  If you live in the South and you are confined to container gardening, plan ahead for the heat and drought that Summer brings.  Otherwise, Summer will win.
Have a great day!
Angela
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5 Comments

  1. You made me laugh with your vertical garden pictures… "You know what's coming? Summer" LOL! I seriously ruin my garden every year. And my figs…well they are dead too! The winter froze them to pieces. So sad.

  2. You made me laugh with your vertical garden pictures… "You know what's coming? Summer" LOL! I seriously ruin my garden every year. And my figs…well they are dead too! The winter froze them to pieces. So sad.

  3. I love it when people are honest and share their garden "failures" too. We all have them, might as well laugh at them! Thank you for sharing.

    BTW, it may be a combo of drying out too quickly and not enough soil nutrients in such a small pocket of soil. When there's not a lot of soil to draw from, you have to be sure that the soil you use is really nutrient-rich. A good compost that has plenty of minerals in it springs to mind. Just a thought.

  4. Thank you for the tip, Well-Rounded Mama. I hadn't thought of the nutrients issue, but I think you're right. Even when my vertical garden plants have enough water, they still look pathetic. I definitely have some planning to do before next year, don't I?

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