At the moment we are in the process of designing a couple of urban gardens where space is at a huge premium yet both clients want to grow their own food, albeit on a small scale.
Here in Brighton, allotments are like gold dust, with many locations in the city having huge waiting lists, so we always look keenly at solutions which can maximise cropping potential and be integrated into spaces with style.
One of our recent posts looked at the US based Garden Towers Project, which looked at how plants can be grown and compost be created in a very tight space, but for those with hardly any floor space, wall growing may be the only option.
Enter the gutter garden, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a way of gardening in gutters. It can be made from recycled guttering in different lengths and is a very efficient use of space.
Gutter gardening is not anything particularly new – many people have been starting seedlings in guttering before planting them out in long lines, but the last few years have seen a variety of DIY systems where guttering has been placed in different heights along lengths of walls to create super efficient and very attractive growing areas.
Of course, you will not get a massive crop of potatoes or prize winning pumpkins from gutter gardening but for salads, herbs, strawberries, radishes and edible flowers such as nasturtiums you cannot go wrong.
The premise is very simple – take lengths of guttering, drill a few drainage holes along the base of each piece and attach to a wall using gutter brackets and strong fixings – remember – your gutter garden will be quite heavy once laden with crops and compost so ensure everything is strong and secure.
Use a nice peat free compost to fill the gutters (make sure you have put end sections on the gutter first…) then sow away. These wall based systems tend to be less prone to slug and snail damage, so hopefully within a few weeks your wall gutter garden should be romping away, ready to provide tasty salads all summer long.
Watering is also pretty efficient, as the drainage holes from the top gutter drip into the gutter below, so a minimal amount of water is wasted by draining onto the floor – just ensure that the bottom gutters are getting enough water from those above.
We are in the process of designing a wall system for use at the new studio based on the basic gutter gardening system as we think it is great. Why not find a bit of wasted wall this weekend and create your own?