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Vertical gardening

February 26, 2013

Hello all.

Spring is right around the corner, and I thought I'd post a few pictures of the vertical garden I did last year. I use mainly over the door shoe organizer. They are held upright on my fences with zip ties and S hooks. Results were better than I anticipated. Enjoy!

Comments (59)

  • cheleinri

    I saw your shoe organizer in another thread and thought I'd see if you posted with more pictures. I have to say, this is one of the most clever things I've seen in awhile. Did you design an irrigation system yet? I wonder if you inspired anyone else to try it.

  • MisterK

    Hi! Thanks for the kind comments. Ours economies are in trouble, time to get those brains to work so we can create new industries and feed our own with quality clean food. Enough with the gmos.

    Id love to post more but i only have an ipad which makes it impssible to post. Those shoe organizer planters are small time compared to what i do now. Im working on Monday, ill post some pictures from my office computer. A frames, rose cones, shoe organizers, rain gutters, florida weaved to tomatoes, etc. ive turned it commercial this year and im just getting started! Stay posted, i promise to blow your mind! Our website ingeniusfarms,com will be ready on wednesday, feel free to visit!


  • cheleinri

    Sounds intriguing. I'll look for more and thanks for sharing. Maybe you should cross post to vegetable gardening..? Shame for anyone to miss it. Hope you have good luck with your venture.

  • Wrekkless

    Hi Khaled,

    Looks great. I've seen this idea before and have planned to try it for all my greens (I'm vegan and eat a LOT of greens). I have a very small back patio to work with and 3 cats and 2 dogs that share the space, so this would free up space for my other big containers like eggplants and tomatoes, give everyone more room to hang out and enjoy the patio and keep the pets from getting into them, hopefully. Yesterday I found my kitten laying on top of my container of little arugula seedlings - I think they'll make it though :)

    One of my concerns with the shoe organizer, which someone pointed out on another forum, is since it isn't meant for food, it may be chemically treated and would leach out into the soil. It was suggested that it would be fine for non-edibles but possibly not for edibles. Because of this, I haven't done it yet but am considering sewing something similar out of canvas or burlap that hasn't been chemically treated.

    Ever since I read that, I've been re-evaluating what I use for containers for vegetables. Do you or anyone else have thoughts on this or is it not that big of a deal?



  • Ernie

    The same concern crossed my mind, Laura, but it's so difficult to say. There are a lot of ifs. If the fabric is chemically treated in some way, if it in turn leaches those chemicals into the soil, if the plants actually take up the chemicals, if the chemicals are actually toxic in some way, if the concentration is enough to be of any concern, and so on. This particular application is a moot point for me anyway -- during the summer here in NC, I'd have to water every three minutes to keep the plants alive! :) Nonetheless, MisterK's creativity is definitely inspiring, and I look forward to seeing the website when it's up and running.

  • chilliwin

    Very impressive nice work. I would like to learn for my wind breaker fence.

    I like innovative gardening and utilizing available materials.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • october17

    I love this idea, especially for the privacy! Those must be some heavy duty shoe hangers. I'm not sure I've ever seen one I thought would be strong enough. I'm going to have to look harder.

    Love the 10' grape vine extender too. We have them growing wild all over. The grapes make really good juice.

    I tried to get to your website, but I don't do facebook, so I can't get there. Dang it.

  • MisterK

    Hello everyone!

    Havent had time to post since last time but I've got an update for you guys today! You've seen the shoe organizers, i got them from walmart for 9$ a piece. Theyre sturdy as its the 2nd year I use them and they are still in very good condition after spending the winter outside.

    I've taken those out again this year and they still perform great! But now I'm focused on a new system made out of plastic rain gutters. I've got about 1500 strawberry plants in those gutters, loads of bush beans, various lettuce types, herbs of all kinds, edamame, swiss chard and more. I've also designed and built and a frame system for vertical gardening.

    We are training our tomatoes vertically up a wire, single fruiting stem style!

    I also have a new tower system made out of rose cones for larger plants!

    Check out the below pics!

  • MisterK

    Single stem vertical tomatoes

  • MisterK

    edamame plants in a gutter!

  • MisterK

    check out this A frame growing strawberries! It hold up to nine 10 foot gutters!

  • MisterK

    A vertical tower made out of rose protection cones that cost 99 cents a piece!

  • MisterK

    Im leaving the office soon and will be answering all questions when i get home a little later! Stay tuned!


  • bitzppa

    like the guttering idea, I picked some up the other day at the big box store as you guys call it, we call it the be green shed, and thought wonder how that would go, didn't buy it, but will keep an eye on this thread see how yours do :)

    thanks for putting the pic's up very much appreciated :)


  • bigbob7777

    Khaled, what type of soil did you use in the gutters? Also, for successive years, how will you amend the soil?

  • VivVarble

    MisterK, props to you for thinking outside of the box! I want to do some strawberries in the shoe organizer. Can you tell me what type of soil, and additives used (if any). I'm fairly new to gardening, I've just set up several raised beds in the backyard. I'd like to have some strawberries as well, I've never grown them before so any information you have would be awesome.

    Keep doing what you do, it's amazing.


  • seysonn

    I like the over the fence idea most. It is interesting in more than just an idea. It does several things:

    -- covers the not so pretty fence.
    -- create a growing surface.
    -- Being vertical, rabbits cannot eat them.
    -- easy maintenance and harvesting.

  • MisterK

    @VivMarble: I use ProMix as a medium. Its a mix of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. Holds lots of oxygen and lots of water yet drains very well. These are the characteristics to look for in a good medium. For the sake of keeping things simple and as organic as can be, the only "additive" I use is composted pelletized chicken compost for ALL my crops, from eggplant to tomatoes, cukes, beans, name it, I grow it. Keeping things simple makes things overall easier in you and more productive, which in turn motivates you to keep growing food. To me, thats number 1.

    @seysonn: you are more right than you would think. There are many hidden benefits to using these. Trying is adopting. My only advice is include irrigation from the start and I promise you will have great crops all season long :)


  • VivVarble

    Thanks for the reply MrK! Looking forward to trying this out. How would/could you include irrigation? I live in TX and would definitely need the help watering.


  • MisterK

    @VivMarble: if using the pockets, drip irrigation is the way to go. The reason i switched to rain gutters is that it's easier (and cheaper) to lay down a soaker hose along the lenght of the gutters than it is installing one dripper per pocket.

    It's also easier to fertilize, I simply spread a thin layer of hen manure pellets on top of the medium in the gutters and let water work it in. The pockets have the advantage of being deeper and being used exclusively for one plant. From my observation, the pockets perform better when properly taken care of. They just dont scale as well.

    The fact that they are a dark color also concerns me as far as heat. Im sure performance would be better if I could find some white ones. I just went with what was available off the shelf. The problem with having too many ideas and being one person is not having enough time to test every possible scenarios for every idea/concept. Id be delighted if someone else pushed this further and showed me what came out if it :)


  • Maude80


    I just discovered your post a few minutes ago, but I wanted to tell you that this is the coolest thing I have ever seen. Kudos to you for being so inventive and coming up with something so fascinating:)

  • MisterK

    @Maude80: necessity is the mother of all inventions. We should all have access to good food without having to spend lots of money. Im glad if this helps anyone improve their quality of life :)

    Thanks for the kind words,


  • Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


    I think you have helped more people than you realize !!

    Thank you for the post, pictures and for the time you put into your projects and for helping others..

    Very impressive!!


  • Charlie

    If you do not have enough space to use the shoe organizer, I saw a post the other day of a lady who used the same concept on a wooden fence. She nailed coffee bags in selected spots and used them just like you have to vertically garden.

  • petrushka

    i found this interesting idea of hanging landscape fabric in folds over a structure. but i think you can even use an old A-frame ladder fro that. but it could tip :) - so better to bolt it may be? or drive stakes to secure it?

    Here is a link that might be useful: living wall with landscape fabric

  • MisterK

    @loveplants2d: amazing, i dont believe in cornering people with high food prices :)

    @charlieboring: great idea. Im all for upcycling. I used to show organizer because i needed to scale up and im aone doing this so anything that saves times is welcome. But nothing beats free containers: :)

    @petruschka: living fabric is good for some greens and ornamental plant, however i dont believe they can support a root structure large enough to grow some weight.

    Get ready people, growing season is almost upon us! I cant wait! :)


  • petrushka

    well, the living wall guy Patrick Blanc is using a weed barrier liner for support - i suppose that could be used for heavier loads?
    look up 'Dewitt SBLT6300 Weed Barrier' it is woven black or white plastic that is permeable to air/water and is flexible.
    just an idea ...

  • calbayarea

    I saw some scrap 6" PVC pipe in a gondola so I fished it out and made some planters out of them. I cut them into 3 ft. sections and then ripped an opening along the length with my skill saw. Plugged up the ends with some scrap wood, glued small rocks to the outside of the pipe and made a little frame out of recycled wood.

  • Charlie

    Great Job! Did you drill drainage holes?

  • saoodhashim

    Occasionally a few posts really inspire me and this is one of them.

    Khaled, I live in Saudi Arabia and where are you from?

  • EricaBraun

    Omg! This is the best! I've been thinking of doing some vertical gardening this year, but your ideas completely blow mine out of the water. The information you have shared in this thread really is invaluable to anyone who gardens. Thank you for sharing your time and your wonderful creativity!

  • MisterK

    @Saood: Thank you for your kind comment :) I currently live in Montreal, Canada. I was born here but my parents are originally from Tunisia, which explains my not very Canadian name lol

    @EricaBraun: Teamwork is how we'll get somewhere good. Those who control the food system are laughing at us with their 7$ a pound chemical filled lettuces. It turns out we can do this growing thing much better than they can :)

    @calbayarea: great design! Bonus points for using free, recycled material! Your system will work better than mine because your planting containers can hold more medium. I gotta find me some cheap tube like yours! Keeps us updated on the performance of the planter i really wanna know how crops turn out! :)


  • calbayarea

    Thank you MisterK,
    Well, since I'm inspired to post now I'll show my latest project. A couple of weeks ago someone was at my home and saw my PVC Planters and told me he had a piece of 12" pvc left over from a job and did I want it. I had him cut it into 3 two foot sections. I used a jiz saw to cut a pattern around the top and also to cut several holes. I then used a wet saw and cut a bunch of rocks in half and glued them onto the PCV. The base below the rocks is just marble tile cut into strips. The glue cost me $8, bag of rocks was $5.50. The marble I already had so the total cost for the three planters was $13.50.
    Gotta love it.....:)

  • calbayarea

    Opps, I didn't attach the photo's! OK here they are.

  • calbayarea

    Gluing on the rocks

  • calbayarea

    Finished Planters. I'll plant something showy in the top and some colorful hanging flowers in the holes. Although 90% of my gardening is vegetable I'm going to use these in the front of the house for some color.

  • MisterK

    beautiful! I just love things made out of whatever people thought was trash. Cheap and gorgeous, plus im sure it will be very efficient for growing plants :)

    hope you guys are getting ready for the coming season, cuz I am!!!


  • ScottBerry

    I have 3 Tower Gardens now and will get 3 more in September.
    I can't believe how fast plants grow in them. I started the 1st tower the 2/4/14 from seedlings and the 2nd and 3rd I sprouted myself.

    All that said no plant in this picture is over 3 months old and my family of 3 eat off them everyday. My arugula has started to flower because I could not eat it fast enough and my cilantro looks like celery.

    Vertical gardening for the win!

  • aztcqn

    Your structures and plants look so awesome! Really creative using pebbles to decorate. Just looked at your instagram site and all the inspiring pics.

    Thanks for making the wheels turn for my future projects.

    This post was edited by aztcqn on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 8:08

  • lindyluwho

    My daughter does square foot gardening and also has gutter gardens.

    Read about her "pest" problem here:

    Here is a link that might be useful: Green Eggs and Goats

  • Amanda Wenger

    I just went and bought me a shoe organizer on Amazon. Some of these ideas are sheer brilliance, and I can't wait to go poke around my garage and see if I can't come up with an idea of my own. :) Thanks all for the inspiration!

  • jemsister

    Wow, I love the pictures in this post! I am very interested in vertical gardening, since I have a small patio, and the landlords won't let me dig out a space (despite the massiveness of the yard). Some great ideas here, and everything is so beautiful they way it's done.

  • kslead

    Great ideas! I especially like what you said about needs being unlimited and resources limited and creativity endless :)

  • northerner_on

    This looked like a great idea until I thought of filling all those pockets with soil. Then what happens in winter? Do they all have to be taken down so as not to 'drown' the soil in the pockets? And how do you amend the soil after harvest? New soil each year? Maybe it's because I am a senior but it just seems a little labour intensive to me. But kudos to you. You are certainly filling a need.

  • mako202

    Vertical gardens, what a wonderful idea! Just the thing for my elderly, apartment-bound sister who so misses her garden.

    Thank you all for posting your variations.

    I plan to try:

    1. A rack holding two or three containers that I will set
      in a never-used bathtub, beneath a west facing window with lots of light. I would love to hear from anyone who may have tried this; and.

    2. An indoor shoe bag version with 4 or 6 pockets:
    a. Roughly how much would each pocket weigh when filled with soil?
    b. Can someone tell me of a particular brand and model shoe bag that has worked out well?

    ... mako202

  • SadieRose

    These ideas are not only yummy-looking but beautiful. I do not think my idea would be so pretty, but you could use all types of containers, anything that would hold soil. How about plastic water and soda pop containers? Cut the bottoms out, turn them upside down and wire or somehow attach them to a vertical surface? With plastic bottles it would be necessary to put something in the bottom to keep the soil in, I guess. Maybe a scrap of landscape fabric or an old piece of denim.

  • vampyress

    I love these! So many great ideas! So inspiring:)
    I worked in urban gardening for many years and
    still occasionally work with a few local farms.
    The only issue I have and it was mentioned up there^ and I don't think it was addressed enough. Please make sure your containers are safe or figure out what you can do to make them safe. Avoiding GMO and big corporations with their big prices, doing all the research and sharing all this information. Wonderful! Seems to me you could take the time to research whether your container is safe and while we are on the subject the soil too! It appears most people here use a good mix but some people reading this thread may pull it out of their yards. Check and see if your city or local university will provide you with testing.
    Again Beautiful and Kudos :)

  • JianLi

    If the space is limited, why not plant bambusa textilis 'gracilis'?

    Here is a link that might be useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2dTNMQ9_ec

  • growgoods

    Very nice you are the man!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Types of vertical gardens

  • growgoods

    Very nice garden! check out some ideas on my page

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