How to Grow Organic Vegetables in a Vertical Garden

comments (0) February 8th, 2015

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Growing your own vegetables not only saves you money at the grocery store but also provides your family with fresher, better-tasting and more nutritious food. By controlling your food source you also decrease your families exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals used in the commercial food supply.

By gardening as a family, you will teach your children valuable life skills that that are not traditionally taught in school and you will provide them with a hobby they can enjoy for a lifetime. Self-reliance is not only comforting but smart. Being able to provide fresh, healthy foods for your family without relying on the outside sources is one of the easiest way to provide security and peace of mind. 

Even if you don't have the space for a traditional garden there are many ways to grow vegetables at home. Vertical gardens are becoming very popular with urban gardeners and rural gardeners alike. Because they are space saving, easy to access and produce terrific yields they have made organic, home gardening accessible to almost everyone. Products such as the Vertical Garden Stacks from Stack. Grow. Eat. offer an easy to use, economical and scalable ready-to-go garden. Here's how easy it is to to get your garden going:

Order your Stacks

Decide how many plants you want to plant. The Vertical Garden stacks can be purchased individually or in sets. For instance if you just want to try it out and get a little experience you can buy a single stack. But if you are ready to plant in earnest you can buy a set of four stacks which will yield 96 plants. Simply scale your garden to your wants or needs.

How to plant your plants

Fill the pot with a premium potting mix to an inch or so from the top. Make a little hole in the soil and plant your plants. To be sure that the roots are properly covered fill around with a little more of the mix if necessary. Important: Do not use garden soil! Soil will compact too tightly in the pot and not allow for proper aeration and hydration. A premium potting mix will stay light and fluffy.

Don't press down and compact the potting mix.  It is important that there is enough aeration for the roots and that water can easily permeate the potting mix. Tap the pot gently a couple of times on the ground to make sure there are no large air pockets. Gently water in the plants , allowing the water to drain through the pot and moisten the potting mix. Water a couple of more times to be sure the soil is thoroughly moist. Excess water should be draining from the bottom of the pot.

Watering Basics

Your potted vegetables will need plenty of water as they grow. As a guide, when the top inch of potting mix is dry to the touch it is time to water. Over time you will see which plants need water more frequently. When the summer heat arrives and the plants have filled out the pot, you will need to water them daily.

Vegetables grown in cold climates may have difficulty getting the proper moisture from frozen soil, causing them to wilt. If you have a brick or stucco wall on the sunny side of your house this can help to heat the plants by absorbing heat from the sun during the day and creating radiant heat during the cold nights. Also mini greenhouses make excellent growing environments for vertical gardens in the winter. Because of the space saving nature of our stacking pots even the smallest of greenhouses can accomodate many plants.

Fertilizing your plants

If you are growing fruit bearing vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and squash, do not use fertilizers that contain too much nitrogen. The amount of nitrogen in a fertilizer is represented by the first number in a three-number fertilizer formula, such as 10-10-10. Nitrogen will encourage fruit bearers to leaf out but not produce many flowers (eventual fruit) . However, if you are growing lettuce, basil, or another plant where leafiness is desired nitrogen will be very beneficial.

Though some potting mixes contain a short-lived supply of fertilizer in them eventually you will need to add some fertilzer. The amount of watering needed will wash away fertilizers quickly. Be sure to read your labels or consult the nursery manager about fertilizers as there are longer acting, slow release that require less frequent application. 

The frequent watering required by container plants depletes nutrients more rapidly than plants were grown in the ground.  Replace them by using a timed-release granular fertilizer, or a plant food that you mix with water.


It is fairly easy to determine when most vegetables are ripe and ready to consume. Size and color are your best guides. Tomatoes, as a general rule, are ready when they have turned a deep rich color and are firm but not hard when squeezed. Cucumbers can be eaten when they are large enough to be useful. Peppers have a long window in which to harvest as they can be eaten at almost any stage. Hot peppers will usually turn red but can be eaten when they are green. Red and yellow peppers will start off green and turn their color as they mature. Beans can be picked in a young stage also or allowed to mature for a more bountiful harvest. Lettuces and leafy greens can be eaten at the baby stage or at full maturity. Harvesting your vegetables timely encourages production, though, so don't get lazy. Bottom line here is don't fret. You will quickly learn when to harvest for the best flavor and yield. 

So now you know the basics. The internet is an incredible source of information if you want to learn more. Also, you can always reach out to your county extension agents who are extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of gardening. But most of what you will learn will be from your hands on experience and trial an error. I encourage you to tend to your garden everyday. You will find that it is something you will look forward to at the end of a busy day because of the relaxing and stress relieving benefits. Pointing out new flowers, berries and buds to young children will help them appreciate the satisfaction and enjoyment of growing your own food. Gardening can be a rewarding and joyful experience for your whole family. Now, get growing!


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posted in: Organic Gardening, Vertical gardening, Urban Gardening