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DIY Gutter Garden

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"Mommy, when can we start a garden?"
"Now?"
"Is it time yet?"
"Now?"
"Are we ready yet?"
My five-year old has been asking for a garden since last year, so I thought it was time to dig in. But there really wasn't anywhere to dig in our yard. No worries. If you are looking to start a garden with limited space, just start one on a wall or fence.
Time: 1 Hours Difficulty: Easy
We had great light on the fence, but you can build a gutter garden on a wall, in a stand, or actually hang them from a ceiling with rope.
If you search "gutter garden" on the web, you will find endless examples. Just know you will be limited with the kinds of plants you grow, as you need ones with a shallow root system. Strawberries, lettuce, and herbs are great choices.
I decided on two 10' sections of vinyl gutters. I also purchased the end caps and gutter hangers which I thought would help keep the shape of the gutter after it was filled with soil.
Our fence is kind of ancient, and I felt we needed to reinforce where the gutters would hang, so we screwed in a few pressure treated 2 X4's. Tom's getting it done with the screw gun. :)
Then it was pretty simple to hang by putting screws into the hanger. They also help to keep the shape of the gutters after you fill them with soil.
Don't forget to drill drainage holes.
We mixed some nice top soil with compost and filled our gutters and flower pots. The little lady was thrilled to finally be getting her hands dirty.
We planted some flowers . . . .
. . . and lettuce . . .
. . . . and strawberries.
Then we just watered and waited . . . . for our harvest. ;)
UPDATE: So, we are three months in. And now we have an update . . . . . .
We still have strawberries, and they did very well, the ones that made it, that is. I had transplanted the strawberries from someone else's garden, so I blame their death on my inexperience. But we did have three harvests with our lettuce.
I've replaced many of the flowers, since they did not bloom all summer.
Herbs love the gutter garden.
What I've learned about our gutter garden:
1. Birds love strawberries. Make sure you cover them up with netting.
2. Not all flowers will bloom well in shallow soil. Will have to do research on better garden flowers for longer blooms next year.
3. Lettuce and herbs are the way to go.
4. If you are going away for a week in the summer, expect on coming home to a thirsty garden.
5. If you plan this with your 5 year old, yup, you'll be doing it all by yourself.

To see more: http://paintedtherapy.blogspot.com/2014/05/diy-gutter-garden.html

Ask the creator about this project

  • Joffler
    Joffler Houston, TX
    on May 13, 2014

    I've seen this before and its a great idea. When I'm older and unwilling to bend over or go down on my knees, this will be the answer. And with a 2 yr old in the house, I may be doing this for her next year.

  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
    on May 13, 2014

    What a wonderful gift to give your daughter. And gutter gardens are also great for those with mobility issues.

  • Karen B
    Karen B Atco, NJ
    on May 13, 2014

    I don't have a fence but saved your post for the future because I thought this was such an excellent idea. Actually, I should tell my neighbor because they have a fence in their backyard that has sun on it all day long, but there are so many tree roots in the ground that it's impossible to plant anything back there. Your garden is beautiful and I bet your daughter loves it!

    • Laurie Powell
      Laurie Powell Tustin, MI
      on May 13, 2014

      @Karen B You could put these under your windows, like window boxes & plant veggies instead of flowers, or both. :)

  • Vicki Maharaj
    Vicki Maharaj Humble, TX
    on May 13, 2014

    love it

  • Kim Enwright
    Kim Enwright Jesup, GA
    on May 13, 2014

    Love it!! Now trying to figure out where to hang it as my apartment has nothing I can attach it to.

  • Sally holway
    Sally holway Suwanee, GA
    on May 13, 2014

    What a great idea! thanks!!!

  • Kim Enwright
    Kim Enwright Jesup, GA
    on May 13, 2014

    Hi Jo, sure wished you were back in Spring Hill. Could use a friend here. I have only been to "Webster" once and I loved it too. I hope you find one as good as there in Texas

  • Susan Haynes
    Susan Haynes Killeen, TX
    on May 13, 2014

    Now that's what I call thinking outside the box!!Great idea!!

  • Claudia Haney
    Claudia Haney Brecksville, OH
    on May 13, 2014

    What a fantastic idea! One I might do on the outside of our patio. Love it.

  • Dawn Schailey
    Dawn Schailey Port Orange, FL
    on May 14, 2014

    Love this idea!

  • Erin@UpcycledUgly
    Erin@UpcycledUgly Mc Kinney, TX
    on May 14, 2014

    This is so sweet! Thanks for sharing!

  • Bseider
    Bseider Calabasas, CA
    on May 14, 2014

    What an awesome idea! It's just beautiful now!!!

  • Wanda sinnema
    Wanda sinnema Seattle, WA
    on May 14, 2014

    SUPER IDEA....would be wonderful for handicapped or Sr. citizens who have trouble around.. it could be set to what height they need..... would love to see this in retirement communities and Sr asst living..areas.........nothing rejuvinates the soul like gardening and flowers..even attach to a balcony in condo areas...less space than pots... !

  • Joan Williams
    Joan Williams Strasburg, VA
    on May 17, 2014

    I have four of them in my window ledges. They look great. Never thought of putting them on a fence. Great idea.

  • Bridget Lovelace
    Bridget Lovelace Waterford, VA
    on Aug 27, 2014

    Thank YOU! I'm on it right now!..so much easier than the wood palette I was about to start! Prettier, too.

  • Susan E
    Susan E Pollock Pines, CA
    on Mar 14, 2015

    I live in the mountains of California, and, therefore facing significantly reduced water usage this coming year. I am going to let my grass areas go "natural" (pine, cedar, & fir needles) and try one of these vertical gardens for some greenery! Thanks for the imagination.

  • Grandmasue10
    Grandmasue10
    on Jan 6, 2016

    You may be planting and doing the actual "caring" for your plants, but my granddaughter, who is 4 wants to water Gandma's plants every time she comes over. It's Jan. in Colorado and she was surprised to hear that plants die in the winter. I can't wait for the crocuses to come up in Feb. (fingers crossed) She can water those.

  • Embellish Ment
    Embellish Ment
    on Sep 29, 2016

    You made my day! Practical, useful, easy......hats off to you Debbie!

  • Gainorhillegass
    Gainorhillegass Tampa, FL
    on Jul 7, 2017

    Thanks for your step-by-step guide on gutter gardening! It is a great way to manage many gardening challenges. Here in sunny HOT Tampa Florida summers, everything dries out in 2 days if we don't get our daily afternoon thunderstorms. So we battle heat and/or too much rain sometimes. Mixing and managing soils/fertilizers is easier, too. Compost, manure, topsoil, peat (to aerate soil) can be balanced per plant needs. Some are heavy feeders. Gutter planting keeps pests from munching away your salad greens. My radish tops have been disappearing! We have same critters here as in PA : possums, raccoons, rats, bats, reptiles - as well as armadillos, rabbits, deer, etc. No skunks, though. Gutter gardening is ideal for folks with disabilities - easier to reach and tend. It's easier to control insects/mildew/diseases organically. The fence around my property is chain link and belongs to neighbors, so I would have to put them on racks. A trip to the flea market or local "curb alert" would yield supplies. I had a terrific 2400 sf vegetable garden and many flower beds in PA, but growing anything in the ground here has been disappointing, although I make my own compost and enrich the sand. Melons and corn are ok, but I really want to try the gutters for more delicate things and ease of care.

  • Dana Baier
    Dana Baier Canoga Park, CA
    on Jul 23, 2017

    Thanks for mentioning the "root" issue. So many container ideas are cute but not conducive to many plants because they are too shallow. Love this idea especially for strawberries!

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