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Container Gardening - Going Vertical

Updated on May 10, 2014

If you do an internet image search with the phrase "vertical gardening", you will see so many different ideas that it becomes both exciting and overwhelming. At least it was for me. Gardeners are creative thinkers and problem-solvers. When looking for more space, they will sometimes purchase additional containers but just as often they will build, recycle, and invent the most amazing solutions for adding planting area. I too needed more space for my vegetable container garden this year and am sharing my solution, the Whitmor Supreme Small 3-Tier Shelving unit, with you.

Making the most of my growing space. This is my first full growing season at this address. I have a fantastic balcony that receives brilliant direct sunlight through the afternoons and evenings. Last summer, I barely had time to experiment with a container garden. When the cold weather moved in, I brought my plants into the kitchen. It is now spring and my garden is gradually moving back to the balcony.

I am feeling more adventurous this year and I will need more space. While I love the wooden raised bed pyramids that are used for vertical gardening, there is no way one of those would fit onto my balcony. I also considered the manufactured pots that fit together to form a sort of pyramid, but I balked at the expense. As you can tell, I thought for some time about my options. We had a hard and snowy winter. I had plenty of time to daydream.

My garden plans are limited in space and budget. I am also very concerned about weight due to being on a 3rd floor balcony and having no idea what the structural limits of my balcony are.

My solution. Due to the reasons above, I happily purchased two Style Selections shelves from Lowe's. Note, I am not a Lowe's employee or stockholder. I just searched for quite some time to find something cheap and stable. And something that would fit on my balcony. I was thrilled when I found these shelves.

If you are not near a Lowe's, I have found that same thing with a different brand name can be ordered from Amazon. The Lowe's brand was approximately $10 per unit cheaper. Likely due to it being marketed as the store brand. The price tag suited my budget but I also had to drive to the store and pick it up. Depending on your location, it may be more cost effective to order them and have them delivered.

I love these shelves for the following reasons:

  • They were very easy for me to assemble.
  • The height of the shelves can be adjusted.
  • I can use the 3 shelves provided or only use 2 shelves if I need to house taller plants
  • They are very sturdy
  • They appear to be of materials that will weather well outside (on my semi-protected balcony)
  • There are adjustable feet - to prevent any wobbling
  • The wire shelves allow the sun to shine through to the plants on the bottom shelf.
  • Small window box shaped planters fit perfectly on the lower shelves.
  • Larger window box shaped planters fit perfectly on the top shelf
  • While the shelves are sturdy enough to meet my needs, they do not add too much weight to my balcony.
  • Going vertical in this way is adding a pretty privacy screen to my balcony. I am blocking my neighbor's view of me in an attractive and green manner.

Image Credit: -- Photo gallery photos are Dawn Rae -- All Rights Reserved

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A very helpful instruction booklet is provided. As are "extra" parts that I finally realized were only packaging parts to prevent rattling and damage.The clips that hold the shelves in place. They are easy to install as long as you pay attention to the "top" indicator on each clip.One shelf assembled and next to the rail.  Testing the sizes of my planters.Last season's container tomatoes! I'm anxious for more tomatoes.
A very helpful instruction booklet is provided. As are "extra" parts that I finally realized were only packaging parts to prevent rattling and damage.
A very helpful instruction booklet is provided. As are "extra" parts that I finally realized were only packaging parts to prevent rattling and damage.
The clips that hold the shelves in place. They are easy to install as long as you pay attention to the "top" indicator on each clip.
The clips that hold the shelves in place. They are easy to install as long as you pay attention to the "top" indicator on each clip.
One shelf assembled and next to the rail.  Testing the sizes of my planters.
One shelf assembled and next to the rail. Testing the sizes of my planters.
Last season's container tomatoes! I'm anxious for more tomatoes.
Last season's container tomatoes! I'm anxious for more tomatoes.

My container gardening adventures. I am not a gardening expert. Not by a long shot. But the ability to grow my own meals excites me. I have experimented since moving to this new apartment. If you would like to see my other gardening adventures, I encourage you to look at the following lenses.

My first vegetable container garden

My indoor vegetable lighting success.

Marchioro 368489 Window Box Planter, 23.5-Inch, Slate (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Marchioro 368489 Window Box Planter, 23.5-Inch, Slate (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

Same measurements as my small window box planter that fits on the lower two shelves.

 
Greenes Fence RC4T3 Tiered Cedar Raised Garden Bed, Wood
Greenes Fence RC4T3 Tiered Cedar Raised Garden Bed, Wood

Another vertical planting option for patios or small yards.

 

This weekend gardener would love to read your thoughts or comments!

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    • profile image

      ColettaTeske 

      4 years ago

      Shelves are an awesome way to grow plants when space is limited. I've used this method a few times in the past with great luck!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 

      4 years ago

      This is a great idea to maximize space - have you seen that ad on our lens with the old guy in a cap? I think he is promoting something like this and the grocery stores don't like him!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      We used these shelves in my mom's banquet room and kitchen area. They work and look great. We actually got them at Home Depot though.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      4 years ago from Colorado

      You always find the perfect solutions. Great choice for your balcony garden. Vertical gardening is the way to go.

    • DawnRae64 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dawn 

      4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      @paulahite: Paula, Thank you so much for sharing and letting me know the FB link.

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 

      4 years ago from Virginia

      Great idea and information! I shared your lens on our Facebook page today!www.facebook.com/GreenThumbOnSquidoo

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      4 years ago from United States

      They do, indeed, look and sound like the perfect shelves for container gardening.

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 

      4 years ago from chichester

      This is perfect for people with limited space and it involves less upkeep too

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I never think to do this in the yard, but it would work well for my place - love those stacking pots too

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      It's a great idea! Lowes has some great choices. Enjoyed your lens.

    • DawnRae64 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dawn 

      4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      @Ruthi: Ruthi, Thankyou! I like that too. I was originally looking for shiny steel shelves. So glad I got these black ones.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      4 years ago

      I love how the vertical shelving blends right into your balcony railing so that what's growing in your pots is the main attraction. Good luck with your vertical balcony garden!

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