Some vertical garden units have a watering system incorporated into the design. These can deliver water from a garden tap to drippers, positioned in the growing pots. If your system doesn’t have such a built-in irrigation set up, then you can create your own with spaghetti tube and variable flow emitters.
Can you automate a vertical garden watering system?
Tap mounted battery powered controllers open the door to automation as you can program these to deliver water to a plan. The best way to draw up such a program is to “water and watch”. Visit the garden during the day to see how long it takes for the pots at different levels within the wall, to dry out. This knowledge then helps you to construct a program that allows you to supply moisture at the right time to keep your herbs well hydrated.
What herbs to use?
The short answer is, whichever varieties you like and use most. Every herb that I can think of (except a banana, technically a herb because it has a soft trunk) can be grown in a vertical garden. Here is a list to get your ideas going – coriander, parsley, basil, mint, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, nasturtium, salvia, lemongrass, chives, chilli, tarragon, oregano, Vietnamese mint, fennel, chervil, dill, lovage, watercress, wild rocket, stevia (sugar bush) and ginger.
How often should I replace the plants?
My approach is to regularly remove overgrown plants. These tend to stress quickly if water levels are not sufficient because the pots tend to be full of roots. Coriander tends to bolt into flower quickly in summer so I recommend new plantings every month. One great idea is to purchase additional pots for your system so that you can have some juniors ready to drop into the wall as required. This enables you to have a full wall of herbal action all year round.
What potting mixes and fertilisers should you use?
The two main problems that most gardeners face with vertical gardens is over-watering and under-watering. Choosing a potting mix that allows free drainage and at the same time holds good supplies of moisture is the first essential. Baileys Premium Potting Mix is a great choice as it not only covers off on the moisture requirements but also has sufficient controlled-release fertilisers to supply up to 6 months of feeding to your plants.
For subsequent feeding, I would recommend using the new Soil Matters Garden food, applied directly to the surface of the potting mix and watered in immediately.