Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Verticle Gardening Part 2

Hello fellow readers,

Several of you like the idea of standing tall while picking vegetables and are intrigued by the decorative possibilities of vertical gardens.  Ted from Allamuchy uses a cattle panel arched in half so he can walk under it and secures each corner with T-posts – Walla, an inexpensive arched trellis. A cattle panel is typically 4 by 16 feet, made of light flexible wire that’s sturdy and sag resistant. Perfect for keeping livestock in and veggies on!

Barb from Pen Argyl shared the idea of using a wooden pallet to create a decorative garden frame.  At first I was skeptical as historically they are treated with toxic chemicals to prevent the transport of invasive insects and plant diseases as required by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). But companies are starting to use heat treatment rather than chemicals which overcomes a big part of the worry to reuse them. Pallets now require an IPPC logo, with initials if heat-treated (HT) or fumigated with Methyl Bromide (MB), and includes the initials of the country where made. Stay clear if labeled MB or those without a logo at all.

Wrap the back and sides of a pallet with 2 or 3 layers of black landscape fabric; wrapping the corners neatly like you would gift wrap.  Use a staple gun, generous on the staples, to secure.  Fill the frame from the open slats with a lightweight potting mix that drains well, compacting lightly as you go. Sedums and other succulents make an adorable display for low light low water situations. Keep the soil moist and the pallet flat for a few weeks so the plants can get rooted. Then lean your artwork against the side of your house or deck rail. Beautiful!

Of course consider your growing conditions and plant characteristics when choosing plants.  I’d be hesitant to grow edibles on your recycled pallet even if labeled HT and made in the US because no one knows if something toxic spilled on it, where it was warehoused or how it was transported.  Call me cautious rather than a worrywart or fusspot. Maybe fussbudget is okay – sounds thrifty!

Garden dilemmas? askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

Leave a Reply

*

captcha *