Garden Log 5/22/22

Installed a gutter planter today. I’ve been interested in the idea of trying to take advantage of more vertical garden space — this is a narrow bit of wall that doesn’t do anything, and anything big there would start blocking the path down from the back deck, but I thought a gutter planter might just fit. And it does.

This style of planter evolved out of people using their actual old gutters, but those tend to be rusty which is not great for plants. If you are handy, you can get new gutters fairly inexpensively, and cut them down to the right size if needed. Or, you can buy a ready-made planter, like this one from Gardener’s Supply Co. ($70), which just required screwing four screws into our wood siding to hold it up.

I’m not sure what will end up doing well here — it gets a fair bit of dappled sun now, but as the wisteria continues to grow over the pergola, eventually, it may end up pretty shady. But that’s a few years off. For now, I think it’s worth taking a shot at growing some plants that do need some sun — we’ll see how they do.

For the top row, I put in some snapdragons, mostly because I’d grown them from seed and I didn’t really know where else I wanted to put them. Those may get replaced, as I’m not sure I love them here. They’re just starting to bloom, and soon, I plan to try some in a salad — they’re edible, if a bit bitter. (Don’t eat flowers from plants you buy at a garden store, as they may well have been treated with chemicals.)

For the second row, a more typical mix for a gutter garden — herbs and lettuces, plus a little lavender just as an experiment.

Third row, I dug up some of strawberries which are ridiculously happy in my sunny front garden and have been encroaching steadily and swiftly on the remaining small patch of grass. They look a little limp and floppy right now, but I’m hoping they perk up once they settle in.

Watered them all in, and now we wait. One downside of this particular location is that it’s so shielded by the house that it’s unlikely to get a lot of rain, so I’m going to have to stay on top of watering it. But perhaps I can assign a child to that task. We’ll see!

If you have a very sunny spot and don’t want to water much, succulents are apparently also a great choice for a gutter garden. You can also leave the drain plugs in, which will conserve water, but you run the risk of flooding it if you get a lot of rain, and rotting out the roots if they’re sitting in standing water, so personally, I wouldn’t risk it. Good drainage typically makes for happy plants!

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