After seeing our instagram post on vertical gardening, Bill T. of Florida had this comment:
….hanging and growing tomatoes upside down…this did not work very well for us here.The soil in florida only holds a plant upright until the squirrels, raccoons, or other critters eat them, or the weeds that grow 3 ft a day crowd them out. We tried everything.
Our response to help in the situation:
The raccoons and squirrels are always a problem! Although, annoying as it may be, they are just looking for food as well!
Vertical gardening now has so may wonderful options these days! The ‘upside down’ tomato planters were just a start! Vertical gardening has become extremely popular in areas where the horizontal space has become limited; condos, apartments, courtyards, etc. More and more so as humans began building up, verses out! (Like NYC 🙂 )
When using a ‘upside down’ planter to grow veggies such as tomatoes, you want to make sure you are using an organic potting soil mix. These mixtures contain plenty of organic nutrients in order for the plants to thrive in un-ordinary conditions (containers verses in the ground). These un ordinary conditions gives the plant limited resources. That’s why we want to make sure we supply a potting mix that is rich in organic material. It is also important to make sure to give the plant materials for drainage and to air its root system; perlite, expanded shale, even small amounts of decomposed granite.
Native Edge Landscape is located in Austin, TX , so our growing conditions are very similar to yours in Florida. Same with the critters! There are plenty of options available to use to protect tender plant material such as the veggies and herbs at your local garden centers. Here we like to use a light netting, this tends to be plenty to keep the little paws off our veggies, while still allowing sun light to the plant.
Other great organic alternatives to keep the critters off of your plants in general is the use of cajan pepper, old CDs strung in near by trees for the birds, some have said cinnamon sticks placed near the veggie gardens help keep the paws off! But remember, these pest are still beneficial! So, if we want to keep them off one plant, plant another for them to survive on! They might be pests now, but what happens when they are gone? Birds love trees with dense branching, squirrels and raccoons tend to love trees with berries and nuts, and shrubs to hide in. Mixing these types of plantings into the landscape can also distract them from our produce!
To get back to the vertical gardening you will notice with some Google research that fishing line plays a huge role in keeping soil retention and plant material secure until they have established root systems to hold their own. Another ‘green’ role that vertical gardening and green roofs play here in the central Texas area, is that it keeps the sun’s heat off of our homes. The moist soils, and plant material help absorb the heat!