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Dave Miller
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Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Not sure if this is "permaculture" or not but I thought this was pretty neat:



Note how the gutters are slanted such that water flows from the top down through each one.

I assume this is some sort of hydroponic system. 

The photo is from flickr, and seems to be some sort of mobile demonstration from "Greensgrow Farm":

 
Brenda Groth
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looks like a nice fixin for a salad base to me..hey whatever works..if all you have is gutters..then use the gutters !!
 
rose macaskie
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b i really like the gutters as supports for lettuces its a great idea .
    i think its super important to do vertical gardening because plants absorb carbon from the carbon dioxide releasing the two oxygen molecules and we need to do that now carbon dioxide molecules are messing up the planet so and we have so many walls in towns that using them would be a big way to absorb our extra carbon dioxide.
     I have all this stuff on a vertical garden in Madrid. This vertical garden  is made by a french man it is in the museums part of Madrid right near the Prado the paintering museum with most of the goyas in the world ian dvelazquezszths and Hieronymouse Bosches in it, it is something like as important as the Metropolitan in america. THe museum is on the otherside of this street which is very wide, what you see here is just the side lane, then there is a thee lane on each side in the centre bit and then on the other side the Prado and the botanic gardenswhichch have a nice old fashioned garden set up even though the flowers are overgrown leeks that make spectacular flowering plants they also have quite a good collection of the trees natural to SPain and of th edifferent varieties of olive trees of spain and a catuse hot house and a bonsai collection.  So one side of the road is quite ordinary and the other is very smart.  agri rose macaskie
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rose macaskie
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here is another photo so you get a more global vision of the vertical garden. agri rose macaskie.
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rose macaskie
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  The "Caixa Forum" who paid for all this, had the green wall and the rust iron top to the next door building, a museum, designed by the swiss architects Herzog and Meuron but the expert in vertical walls the green gardener who makes this wall possible is Patric Blanc.
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rose macaskie
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  The plants on these walls are grown hydroponically. The bases on which they are grown  are made of sheets of metal, plastic and felt. The plants are planted in pockets in the felt. i saw about for layers of transperent plastic, felt, transperent plastic, etc in the bit at the side that is not covered with plants and at the back of the latyers of transparent plastic and felt hhat sort of woven plastic thread material ithat is black. the felt looks like the sort of felt you use to protect carpets, tha tgoes  between the carpets and the floor. It is incredible that these materials can hold up all these plants.
  Heres a bad foto of the plastics, the shiny white bit, and felt and pockets, i went in the evening when the light was bad thats why the photos are so bad, i always do things at the last moment.
  Walls like these in citties would not only absorb the carbon and release the oxygen of carbon dioxide, they might reduce other pollutants in cities, and would reduce the heat Madrid gets so hot when all the walls heat up in the summer sun and could reduce the cold ,apparently having a creeper reduces heating bills in winter and trees in towns reduce the air conditioning bills in summer. agri rose macaskie.
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Jennifer Smith
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Location: Zone 5
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Great Photos Rose!! Thank you yet again
 
Leah Sattler
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very cool! all of the pics. that really gets the creative juices flowing. I am very appreciative of things people have made with everday materials. often materials that would otherwise be thrown away. i have thought of trying to design a terraced raised bed for lettuces....not really vertical but close.
 
                        
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Location: Canada. Ont
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Brb, getting some old gutter. nailing it to the wall, and attaching a CFS Aquaponic setup
 
                                      
Posts: 172
Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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Hey, another favorite topic!

with us being busy with urban permaculture here of course vertical gardening cant miss. most amsterdam people just have either a balcony or a little strip to the facade of their house. usually made by taking out a few tiles from the sidewalk. Lucky ones have a tiny backyard.

Together with Ishi Crosby (a Canadian teacher at the dutch permaculture schools) we're organizing a series of workshops around 'urban permaculture', and 'natural gardening with limited space'.

My favorite is the vertical garden design, shown at one course, which we immediately build. now two years later it has quadrupled the yield first gotten from that particular space. its a construction with a metal grid, that is strongly connected to the outside of the wall of your house (shed or wathever), at a distance of about 15cm.
at the inside of that grid we connect a piece of cloth like jute. this is to hold the soil together. the soil is added between the wall and the cloth.


You can either sow seed while filling it up with soil, using cloth with a rough structure like jute, seedlings will just grow through. we usually sprout inside and then put the seedlings in little holes we make in the cloth.



in the end a lot of things do well in this, most nightshades, tomatoes, peppers, paprika (bell pepper?) egg-plant. but also pumpkin, cucumber, courgette. and strawberries, dont forget strawberries. jummie.



And then there is another one, i already posted elsewhere, but i still like to share.

the vegg tower. for small gardens, roof tops, or big balconies. one of our teachers actually visioned a field of these towers because of their really high yield, we have been testing it for 1,5 year now and its still doing good. it has:
- a bigger soil volume then is possible with a raised be on the dame ground surface.
- a bigger planting surface then would be possible in a raised bed on the same spot.
- more different micro climates, sun, shade, half-half. just like a herb spiral.
- and it warms up a lot because of the stone. thus extending the season and protecting against frosts

it is build layer by layer, first a ring of bricks, which you immediately fill with soil. every layer of bricks is put half a brick inwards. this way you construct a very solid structure since the weight presses equally back everywhere...


you can start planting and sowing immediately when building.






it is especially handy in urban areas, but for any zone 1 it can increase yield, and also function like herb-spirals do. but because of the strong structure it can be build really tall, i've seen a few that were almost 2 meters high.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Location: Zone 5
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I have more land here than I care to cultivate so thank you very much for this.. work smarter not harder... things all together in a small intensive/interwoven way.

I need good examples to show the other half.  He is slow to grasp my permie leanings.
 
                                      
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Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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nope vertical gardening is not really a niche for anybody with a lot of ground...

unless you consider 'stacking' to be vertical gardening...
 
rose macaskie
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    Apart form vertical gardens being interesting for people with little space, creepers are interesting for isolating your house, a creeper reduces house heating and cooling bills. as does a decidouse tree placed so that it shades your houes i summer but ot in winter when it has lost its leaves.

  If you are interested in ecology and global warming then vertical gardening is interesting because vegetation sinks carbon and to much carboni in the air means that the heat leaving the earth going to outer space gets reflected back when it bounces of carbon dioxide floating around in the air and so gets returned to earth and we don't cool down as much as we otherwise would.. If i am wrong then someone will be able to explain why.

  If vertical walls in towns were covered in plants that take up carbondioxide keep the carbon for themselves which they turn into carbohydrates and releasing the oxygen the two oxygens dioxide, then we would get a lot of carbon taken out of the air in towns.
    A sink in science is a place that takes up and holds on to something like plants taking up carbon from th eair and holding it in therrre sructure and while that wood goes on existing it holds on to its carbon, goes on being a carbon sink, if you burn the wood the carbon gets released into the atmosphere to reunite with oxygen again, making more carbon dioxide.
  Cities don't have much ground space for plants but they have a lot of wall space, if we covered walls with plants these would sink some of the carbon in the air and with a lot of cars there has to be a lot of carbon in cities.
    Men do tend to stone wall women if they start to  take over important jobs, like such activities as care for all society not just their families. With any luck the women will feel discouraged if no one listens to them leaving the publick sphere and more socially exciting one as the stamping ground of males.
  People trying to cut others out means less and less room for everyone to integrate in interesting projects, it put paid to many of the projects and it means no one to listen you have cut out all others. It squashes creativity, means less people to discuss plans  and put them into practice .
    Men are meant to understand ideas that have to do with the greater good. They get their standing  from saying they are more seriouse and responsible than women. and they have to do things to prove it or be good at sounding as if they do them, so it is in their self interest to be interested in what is best for cities etc. Women have to be very tough to go on with projects with all the opposition men will put up. it is not lovign to try and do for your partnes projects so women have a right to be tough.

      Also plants in cities reduce the need for heating  and air conditioning by shading buildings and by aislating them from the sun or cold.  Keep off the heat and the cold.
They also stop walls heating up too much.

      Walls are usually made of heat accumulating materials, and asphalt is the heat accumulating material t beat all others i dohave not studied all heat accumulatign materials. They get hot in the sun and conserve the heat they gain. They make cities much hotter than the surruonding country side. there has to be a temperature differential for things to lose heat they have to be next to somthign colder than them on a hot day they wont los much heat with a small differential there is only a small loose of heat. So on hot days the bricks heated by diirect sunlihgt won't loose much heat in the shade, they will start to loose the heat they have absorbed at night and as all the houses will be loosing heat at the same time it will take a long time for the air to cool down enough for them to loose much heat and all the walls loosing heat at night in cities makes the nights in cities very hot, your husband does not live in town but if he did he would understand the reason for this bit of permaculture men can't sleep at night in madrid in summer. it is so hot.. The importance of vertical gardens for these reasons. agri rose macaskie
 
rose macaskie
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n Jennifer you say your husband does not understand th eimportance of permiculture, it is just normal for an intelligetn person to look at all systems that have to do with a project they are envolved in.
  Aren't permaculturists the people on the cutting edge of curing the problems that have presented themselves after decades of using chemicals in farming, Sometimes people on the cuttign edge don't look like your powerfull guy. bill gates probably did not look very impressive as a young man.  Though the ideas you read written by permaculturists, you also read in books written by agricultural experts. Maybe they are the parts that some farmer prefer to forget because they imagine they are finding short cuts if they pass on them.
trees for live stock.
  I read that the french grow a walnut tree as shade for live stock as insects don't like its scent so animals can stand in the shade unmolested by insects if you have walnut trees in your feilds. agri rose macaskie.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Here is a demo of what sepp holzer suggests for a vertical garden. 

One pic features his son, Josef, and the other pic is Patricia (part of "Team Sepp" (people that have signed up to tag along with Sepp for two years)).

Sepp calls this a "sausage" and uses all sorts of variations of this in different situations.  It is a type of landscaping felt on the outside and soil on the inside.

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paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Right in front of patricia you can see a hole that has been poked into the sausage.  That's where a plant goes. 

 
                              
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Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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Well if you are in a situation where creating the right atmosphere for some very desired plant is difficult, then going vertical to save on the amount of space that needs to be say enclosed for them might be a great idea.  Like say you have lots of space outside but the space in the greenhouse is at a premium, go vertical to utilize the premium space to it's fullest.

It might not be suitable for most things but it's still great.  I have a back wall of my "outdoor Kitchen" space that I think would be great to go vertical on. 
 
                                      
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Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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a sausage.
great.

paul do you know what kind of plants go in to these sausages?
 
                    
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Thank you for the pictures Joop, Rose, and adunca!  It's not what I was expecting to see when I opened this. 

I lived in Philadelphia for four years, and was lucky enough to buy a whole bunch of food from Greensgrow Farm.  I'm fairly sure it's that city's first major urban market farm.  I looked up more information about the first photos that adunca posted.  So here is the story behind that shipping container: 

"When Eugenia Perret and Elizabeth Oliver from Minima Gallery (www.acleanbreak.org) in Philadelphia approached us to take part in their critically acclaimed A Clean Break design show we did the proverbial ... "Who? Us?" But the curators were insistent that we were their choice to make use of a cargo container as part of the exhibition featuring innovative design solutions addressing issues of urban infill, 21st century development and sustainability. "It is our aim," says Eugenie Perret, owner of the Minima Gallery "to go beyond merely proposing innovative housing solutions, but to provide the opportunity for Philadelphians to experience them firsthand."

Ahh. Solutions. The Greensgrow throw down. How to create something useful from something deemed useless like an old shipping container (of which there are literally millions scattered around the country). The installation has found a new home at Greensgrow Farms where it changes seasonally from Santa's workshop at Christmas to an information hub and aquaculture system in summer."

http://www.greensgrow.org/farm/overview/philly/alternative-living-spaces.html

It's a really neat place, one of those that will save cities, very proactive in using farming for more than just growing food.  Just wanted to flesh out the story behind the first photos because I knew that farm name and wanted to know more about that container!  One of my old friends now works there in the summer....

It was especially inspirational because I happened to move there just before they bought the city-block sized lot (near my neighborhood) that they turned into the farm.  One year, a bull dozed mess of concrete, rebar and weeds.  The next year - farm! 

Rose, that building is just gorgeous.  Very good point about the trapping of carbon through plantings like that.  If every building had a living roof in philly, suddenly it wouldn't be a problem to grow enough food in the city center to feed the people that live there. 
 
Jennifer Smith
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rose macaskie wrote:
n Jennifer you say your husband does not understand th importance of permiculture, it is just normal for an intelligent person to look at all systems that have to do with a project they are involved in.

Rose, my hubby is intelligent or he would not be my hubby.  He is just over educated.  He had a good formal, as well as practical, education.  His father is traditional rice/corn/wheat/cotton farmer.  He a collage graduate
 
He knows what he knows, what he is interested in he has studied beyond his education.  He is one of the "experts" I mention who often "only know what they were taught" about many of my hobbies, never being exposed to the things I have.  He knows way more about the things he is interested in than I ever hope to. 

He does not say they are wrong or that they will not work, just that he has never heard of such things and we all have way to much time in thinking about things.
 
Travis Philp
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Along my driveway there are a few dozen scotts pines that average about 1' or more in diameter at chest height. The trees are spaced about 10-15 feet apart.

I'd like to make sheet mulch rings around them and plant some sort of climber. The pines look kinda sick and sad and don't have very thick vegetation on them so there's lots of light penetration to the main trunk. I'm thinking either climbing beans or hops, or maybe both.

Does anyone know if climbing beans would be able to make it up such a wide 'pole'? The thickest thing I've used to support pole beans was part of a picket fence.

Any other ideas for what could grow up these pines? I'll take pictures when I can if anyone needs the visual.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Honeysuckle? 
 
                      
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Location: Sherbrooke, QC
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Travis,

Beans, Climbing peas and the sorts should do fine. Pine trees have a very rough, almost corrogated bark. (unless its another type of pine, or spruce you`ve got)

I have grown Peas on mine before.


Back to the vertigal gardening, Imagine if there was a practical way to both grow and pick edibles from the vertical buildings. I suppose a window washer could do it.

If there was a way to fix enough nutrients to the soil for the various climbers to succeed, image the reduction in imported produce that could be achieved....

What would work? grapes, kiwi, peas, beans, cucumber - actually there could be an astounding number of possibilities!!!... Hum - anyone have a building close to me - - - I love to test this out!
 
                                      
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I would like to introduce a new green build conscience to recover our walls and buildings.Thesmall trees and plants go out from the wall and integrate in a self sustainable system.
Its patent from our new company, fractalomtree s.l

www.fractalomtree.com

 
Amedean Messan
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I love the idea of vertical farming.  They save valuable space, are less exposed to various pathogens and look very innovative.  I know that forest gardens do not fit the vision of this kind of farming, but I have had difficulty applying some of my work less visions on such plants like tomatoes and other annuals that need stakes or some other type of support.  Personally, I have been going over some plans in my head about vertical plantings where the annuals are grown upside down.  Being a mechanical engineering student I was thinking of a setup were I can hand crank a rotating series of rows vertically in the order were I would be able to access the plants and extend the vertical range to great heights as far as 30 ft.
 
Julie Carney
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Location: Silicon Valley
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Can someone explain / show how to secure the vertical garden "soil bag" to a wall w/o messing up the wall?
Also, how do we protect the wall so it keeps its integrity and does not become damp and / or moldy in wetter climates?
...and how much water do these vertical landscapes use?
 
Clara Florence
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While I love the idea of vertical gardening, the reality is often less encouraging. Vertical gardening was one of the first techniques I tried and I gave it up because...

Vertical gardens evaporate water really fast. The soil is exposed to a lot more evaporation factors than a ground based garden. Drip irrigation is probably best.
It's most suitable for quick harvest, shallow root plants, as filling up large vertical spaces with growing medium can get expensive.
You constantly battle settling of the growing media, and if you are growing through geotextiles then your plants my start slumping and being pulled through the textile as the medium settles. Hence why you wont something you harvest quickly.
Hanging growing media is heavy, once it's wet it's even heavier. Sturdy supports are required.

My experience led to less than satisfactory results and you miss the advantage that growing in guilds etc provides. You are essentially conventional gardening in tiny amounts of soil and will experience all the results and problems of such. It's an artificial way to grow plants, some plants adapt better than others. But if you have limited space it's an option that you can make work.
 
Andrew Parker
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Julie, you bring up a good point. You should leave enough space between your planting and your walls to allow the walls to dry out. It would probably not be enough to simply put a sheet of plastic between the wall and the planting medium. Maybe a layer of mineral wool (not fiberglass bat) would be enough? Also, even in a dry climate, soil moist enough to grow plants will be moist enough to damage walls, so you might not have problems with rot, but there is till a significant risk.

Clara, I was just discussing the problem of rapid evaporation with my brother as he was setting up his upside down tomato bags (he will be using a drip system). I think that in dry climates, use of impermeable membranes, such as plastic sheeting, would resolve the evaporation issue.

I have a terrible problem with container gardening when humidity levels drop below 10%, the temperature is above 95 F and the wind is blowing. Also, sometime around the end of July, I start to get salt and mineral buildup, which can stunt or kill the plants. I was going to experiment with plastic and gravel mulches this year, but the price of plants doubled and I can get vegetables cheaper at the local market.

I like joop's brick tower idea, but that many bricks or pavers can get expensive, and they are not readily available used (masonry is only used for veneer here because of seismic safety, and that is rare now with the popularity and lesser cost of stucco finishes).

Rose, regarding creepers, if you are going to plant vines, why not plant grapes?
 
Julie Ashmore
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Clara Florence wrote:While I love the idea of vertical gardening, the reality is often less encouraging. Vertical gardening was one of the first techniques I tried and I gave it up because... Vertical gardens evaporate water really fast. The soil is exposed to a lot more evaporation factors than a ground based garden...


I can definitely understand that vertical gardening could have serious issues with water evaporation, if the soil is placed vertically. However, let's not forget about vertical gardening with the roots in the ground. At this link, http://woodforfood.blogspot.com/2015/07/cucumber-tipi-part-3.html, you can see my cucumber tipi, which is growing out of a 5 foot deep underground hugelkultur bed. Tipis and other trellises can provide excellent vertical growth opportunities, without sacrificing the water retention of a hugelkultur bed. With so many varieties of vegetables that climb, one can avoid placing the soil vertically. For those plants that do not climb, permies who are pressed for gardening space can build above ground hugelkultur piles that are very steep and provide a significant increase in surface area for growing -- again, with water retention benefits instead of evaporation issues.
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