Vertical Kitchen Garden.

2014-02-17 08.36.41Kitchens have always seemed like magical places to me.  I love the possibilities that exist inside of a kitchen, all the things you could potentially create.  My mother instilled in me a healthy respect for herbs and spices, to me a kitchen isn’t complete unless there is a wide variety both, all the better if they are fresh.  It’s my opinion that  kitchens can only be improved with the addition of plants.

I love the idea of having fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables within arm’s reach while I’m cooking.  I love how they stimulate my senses, and make me feel freaking amazing.

There is a distinct feeling, a vibration that plants bring to an environment which invigorates and uplifts, they literally provide us with a breath of fresh air.

This weekend I decided to add some more of that uplifting plant vibration to my house by finally making my kitchen garden.  The kitchen garden for me is one of those projects you decide that you MUST do because it looks so amazingly awesome when you read about it.

2014-02-16 18.29.57To make this particular garden I used a few empty two liter bottles,  a cordless drill with a 1/4 drill bit attachment. Cotton Twine, Printed Duct Tape (peacock feather pattern), a scissors, aquarium gravel, organic starter soil, an empty egg carton and of course, assorted seeds.

Not everything listed is pictured  You can find all of the stuff you need to make this online, or at a hardware store…  Alternatively, if you want to be like me and feel guilty for the next week; just go to Wal-Mart.  That’s where I found the duct-tape, drill-bits, aquarium gravel, and organic starter soil.

I was surprised to find that Wal-Mart carried organic potting soil, I’ve had a hell of a time finding it locally lately so that was a plus.  There’s always a silver lining to every cloud!  I’m currently working on making my own soil from compost but it takes a year for compost to mature and we’ve only been living here for the last four months.  Eight more months to go and I’ll have my own organic soil…around November.  :/

Until then I’m going to need soil, while I would prefer to do business with other places,  I do think it’s a good sign that we’re seeing big box stores like Wal-Mart offering more organic options, it shows that people are being heard, and that we have power to change how things are done.

2014-02-15 15.03.17I didn’t like the look of a bunch of naked garden containers so I decided to cover them with patterned duct tape so they all match better.

I think when it comes to the counter containers made from milk cartons I’ll continue to use tape, but for the purposes of the hanging planters I’m going to try something else. The tape worked well for smoothing out the rough edges from where I cut the plastic bottles, but you could sand them too and avoid using tape.

I think it could also be neat to glue something around the edges of the planter with a hot glue gun. Maybe border, or some kind of decoration.  The first things that popped into my head were those shiny bedazzlements that I used on this project.  I love shiny stuff, good god it’s awesome. o.O

wrap

I found the easiest way to uniformly cover these bottles with tape is to do vertical strips that run from the bottom of the bottle to right where the cap starts.  Cut a slit in the center of each strip, right where the bottle starts to taper on both ends, this will make it easier to fold the tape around the changing shape of the bottle.

I’ve found that it’s good to keep adding tape until you have enough space left to use two more strips.  At this point you want to stop adding tape and cut out the hole for your where your plant is going to stick out.  After you have cut the hole for your plants, tape the rest of the bottle so the whole thing is covered.  Once all my bottles are taped, I started drilling the holes to feed my string through.

I drilled a hole on each end of the bottles for my rope to feed through and I drilled a few additional holes in the bottom of each planter except one.  The planter I saved from drilling will go on the bottom of the plant tower and catch the water that drips when I water the whole system.  In order to stabilize the planter I tied knots in the ropes at equal intervals so the bottles have a place to rest on while they are hanging.

Next time I think it would be cool to make the planters adjustable, by finding something to secure them on the rope.  I’m not sure what the best thing to use for that is, I’ll have to do more research.

dirtcupsOnce I had the planters and rope put together I filled the containers with aquarium gravel.  At this point you could plant seedlings directly into the gravel if you wanted to.  I don’t have any seedlings that are big enough to do this, so I decided to use the planters as a nursery for sprouting seeds.  I don’t want to mix dirt in with my gravel so, I’m using an egg carton that has had each of the individual chambers cut out.

The handy thing about sprouting seeds this way is that it’s pretty easy to move them around if you desire to.  This gives allows some freedom to experiment with what plants to group together for creating successful plant guilds.  Once the seedlings are ready to be transplanted all I have to do to prepare them is pop em’ out of the egg carton cups and rinse off the roots.  Some of the seedlings I’ll keep inside and grow year round in the planter, some of them I’ll transplant outside when it gets warmer.  

I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out I learned a lot and it was a ton of fun to do but, I think it can be even better.  Next time I want to utilize a full hydroponics system and incorporate a fish-tank into the design.   The planters will hang above the tank and a pump will circulate water up to the top-most planter and trickle it back down to the fish-tank.  Inside of the fish-tank I would like to grow cool looking fish and edible aquatic plants, I have to do a little more research on what works well for this kind of setup, but I’ll be doing more with this project in the very near future.    In the meantime I’ll be watching my plants grow.  Thanks for reading and if you have any tips you could send my way, I’d be much obliged.  🙂  Namaste.

 

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