Veritcal Farming

16 posts / 0 new
Last post
Ed Archer's picture
Ed Archer
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 12 2008
Posts: 225
Veritcal Farming

I havn't seen a post on this topic but I'm sure several will find the concept interesting, I'm not sure how will it would work in practise but perhaps someone more well versed in greenhouse farming can comment.

Vertical farming

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Vertical Gardening and Vertical Garden Material Storage
Ed Archer wrote:

I havn't seen a post on this topic but I'm sure several will find the concept interesting, I'm not sure how will it would work in practise but perhaps someone more well versed in greenhouse farming can comment.

Vertical farming

Hiya Ed;

Some pretty broad, sweeping concepts, there, that I'm not sure will work, in practice  . . . . However, I am enthused about "vertical farming" in the sense that many heretofore wasted spaces can be used for crop production . . . . We're using the "green roof" concept to increase our productive space.  We have a walk-out rooftop deck, on which we have a greenhouse and a container garden for those items that I reach for at the last moment, like salad greens and herbs.  The resultant shade on our roof certainly keeps our home cooler, in summer, too.

I'm also using a variation on the "green wall" concept, on the south side of our home, to grow vines intensely, and to keep the sun off of our south-facing kitchen and deck area.  On the first floor, which is actually several feet above the ground, as our basement is semisubterranean, our kitchen has a walk-out deck.  Beyond that, we've built a stone planter, about 1.5 x 4 ft.  In that, I plant cucumbers for pickling each year.  The vines climb up the lattice that screens the area under the deck.  (The deck is high enough at that point that we have a walk-in storage area underneath, where we store coal and a few larger garden supplies.)  Once the vines reach the deck railing, they fan out and start climbing up the jute twine that we've strung from the first floor deck to the rooftop deck.  They grow thickly, so that the first floor deck and kitchen are completely shaded by the vines.  It's picturesque to look out the kitchen window in the summer, and see the little pickles hanging down from the vines.  This makes it easy to walk out the kitchen door and harvest pickles, too.  We easily get 100 to 200 jars of sweet and dill pickles out of that stone container garden, each summer. 

We love where we live  . . . We've invested a great deal of our labor and ourselves (though not so much money) into this place.  I grew up here, and though it's small, a little less than an acre, including easements, for now, this is where we're hunkering down.  (See my comments on the Is it Time to Move Back to India thread, for our reasons for staying.)  Since we're committed to sustainable living, this will require that we use every square inch efficiently, and make every inch multitask, if you will.  I'm always scheming to figure out a way to squeeze more uses out of every nook and cranny. 

So far, we've had no complaints from the HOA . . . We try to keep our "improvements" scenic, using stone and felled logs for garden walls, and making all of the peripherals as attractive as possible.  I think our neighbors think of us as just a couple of aging eccentrics . . . I guess they'd be right about that. 

One of our current projects is a series of six bins, on individual concrete slabs.  They are built like Lincoln Logs, more or less, so that they are adjustable in height  and holding capacity, and so that the fronts can be reduced, by stages, in height, to allow easy access to the contents.  They will be for storing the various materials that we need on a regular basis for building and maintaining our gardens and landscape:  soil, compost, sand, "grade 9", excess stone from various building projects, and so on.  The adjustable heights and volumes will allow for flexibility of use, depending on our needs.  The array is squeezed between two fences that flank a utility easement, adjacent to our property.  Because I know the plans for community expansion, I also know that this easement is now just "dead" space . . . . a vestige of poor planning, many decades ago, and is very unlikely to ever be used for utilities.  So, like squatters, we moved in.  

The space is on a slope, and as I said, between two fences.  Our nearest neighbors have a second-and-a-half story deck that has a view into the area, so we've been concerned that they don't consider them an eyesore, since we have little legal grounds for placing them there.  So, the plan, on the drawing board, includes a variety of removable little rustic "roofs" to give the impression of a little "village".  I don't know about you, but, when I was a kid, this would have been make-believe heaven.  Combined with the mysterious winding path and little gate and arbor that lead into the utility area, it should be a kid magnet . . . . And, because, our materials will be stacked up higher than would be possible with free-standing piles, the whole thing will be quite compact, while providing us with the convenience of on-site materials.

-- C1oudfire, Wannabe Hobbit and Aging Eccentric

 

tx_floods's picture
tx_floods
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 28 2009
Posts: 155
Re: Veritcal Farming

Your idea for the storage bins sounds really cool! Can you post some pictures or a sketch?

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: Veritcal Farming
tx_floods wrote:

Your idea for the storage bins sounds really cool! Can you post some pictures or a sketch?

Hi, Tx;

Sure will, when I get them completed.  Be patient with me, though . . . We just broke out the digital camera that I picked up for pennies on the buck when Circuit City went belly up.  So, I haven't figured out how to work with the program yet . . . .

RNcarl's picture
RNcarl
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: May 13 2008
Posts: 382
Re: Veritcal Farming

Hey,

Verticle gardening goes right along with "The Square Foot Garden" (google it).

It takes some faith and adherence to the concept to get good yields. I made a few "newbie" mistakes with the concept this summer - planting too much too close, not picking and rotating plantings on time. I have made most of the mistakes he mentions in the book.

the author mentions vertical gardening and I can attest that as we get older, it is the only way to save your back.

C.

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: Square Foot Gardening
RNcarl wrote:

Hey,

Verticle gardening goes right along with "The Square Foot Garden" (google it).

It takes some faith and adherence to the concept to get good yields. I made a few "newbie" mistakes with the concept this summer - planting too much too close, not picking and rotating plantings on time. I have made most of the mistakes he mentions in the book.

the author mentions vertical gardening and I can attest that as we get older, it is the only way to save your back.

C.

Yep, Carl, I use a variant of the square foot gardening method . . . with some modifications for my circumstances . . . Indeed, I find it very, very productive . . . I wouldn't be able to get the productivity I need from my small acreage, without it.

 

Ed Archer's picture
Ed Archer
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 12 2008
Posts: 225
Re: Veritcal Farming

One concern I have about vertical gardening is sunlight, is there enough to go around for all the plants??

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: Veritcal Farming
Ed Archer wrote:

One concern I have about vertical gardening is sunlight, is there enough to go around for all the plants??

Hi, Ed;

That's a good question . . . In my experience, it's best to use verticality judiciously.  If every row is vertical, clearly you run into a problem with one row shading the next.  So with, say, raspberry vines that are espaliered, you need to allow five or six feet between rows.  With squash, one way to find a balance between the massive space used by sprawling vines, and the problem of one vertical row shading another, is to orient the rows north to south, and have them climb up netting or wire fencing that is slanted into inverted v formation, so that for each row of "trellis" there are two rows of squash climbing up from either side.  (I hope I'm making this clear).  That way, the angle at which sun strikes the vines is closer to ninety degrees, and the vines take up less space.  Because one trains the vines up the trellis, not so much space is required between rows.  This also allows for more air circulation around the vines, thus discouraging powdery mildew and the like.

I like to go vertical on the surfaces of my home, at the back of garden . . . In that case, a massive amount of produce can be grown in literally a few square feet.  I also like to have vertical rows at the north end of every veggie garden, as there is no problem with shading anything there.   In short, I adjust to the circumstances, and I'm always on the lookout for that few square feet where I can go vertical and get a bonus yield. 

Hope this helps.

 

--C1oudfire

Ed Archer's picture
Ed Archer
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 12 2008
Posts: 225
Re: Veritcal Farming

It answers my questions thanks, I don't have a garden currently but I'm always interested in learning more. ;)

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: Veritcal Farming

For the folks who are interested in growing melons and squash vertically, here's a blog, Our Engineered Garden, with some pics of melon slings:

Melon Slings

More Melon Slings

And, here's excerpts from a book, with a chapter on building structures for climbing vines:

Teepees, Trellises, and Other Plant Supports

Here's another page on a gardening site with some pics and comments on growing melons vertically:

Melon Slings and More

I've decided that I'm going more vertically with my melons and squashes, next year, as the powdery mildew put a serious dent in my yield, this year . . .

BungeeBones's picture
BungeeBones
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 2 2009
Posts: 38
Re: Veritcal Farming

I think the guy in the video flunked economics and business 101. It's sort of like ignoring the cost of the building t and saying that if they could get the buildings for free, mainatin them for free oh what a wonderful world it would be.

Because of such things as interest farms tend to get pushed out of high real estate value areas to those places with low real estate value. Crops that are commodities have the lowest profit margins so those definitely need cheap farmland. Arable land near population centers usually produce high value crops as their costs (taxes, labor, etc ) tend to be higher. I'd hate to see what the system he proposes would do to a grocery bill. $20 for a tomato, $1 per radish, etc etc

 

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: Vertical Farming

Here's a pretty substantial watermelon, grown vertically, with the benefit of a sling . . . That's no sling . . . It's more like a hammock:

Before:

[P8070020.JPG]

After:

[P9010036.JPG]

Photo from:  Backyard Bee Blog

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Extreme Vertical Gardening, New York City

For my city-bound friends, who are concerned about the fragility of our food supply chain, here's some inspiration to show that it is, indeed, possible to grow produce within city limits . . .

Extreme Vertical Gardening, New York City

 

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Vertical Gardening Introductory Overview (Video)

The Garden Girl gives a quick overview of vertical gardening, tailored to the square foot garden.  Several clever ideas for vertical structures are suggested.

CharlieGoodman's picture
CharlieGoodman
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 9 2010
Posts: 1
Re: Veritcal Farming

Check out this vertical farming system now ready to market worldwide in 2010...  the future of farming is UP! and it's here...

 

Time Magazine says Valcent's Vertical Farming Technology one of the Top 50 Best Innovations of 2009: http://bit.ly/5zDIqh

"I can't think of any technology that addresses more urgent issues than Valcent's vertical farming system", says RFK Jr http://bit.ly/cPb00g

Is this the Future of Farming?

PlicketyCat's picture
PlicketyCat
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 26 2009
Posts: 680
Veritcal Farming & Sunlight

Sometimes the shading caused by going vertical can actually work to your benefit!  If you live in a hot climate, you can plant cool-loving cabbage behind a row of trellised beans so the vines shade the cabbages and keep them cooler. Just enough sunlight filters through the vines to make the cabbages happy without having them bake in the summer sun. 

This shading also works with some crops that get leggy or go to seed when it's hot or the days are too long. I know a few folks up here in AK that always plant their onions behind/within taller shading plants because 22 hours of direct sunlight makes for tiny little onion bulbs.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments