My Backyard Vertical Garden

Hanging Pot Solution

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about setting up my vertical garden commenting about how expensive the hanging pots sets are for my trellis wall. Over the couple of weeks following that post, I did some research and shopping around and have found a solution that is much more flexible and also more cost effective.

The video below runs through the solution I found

The financials of this solution are:

  1. A set of 3 pre-made hanging pots of this variety will cost you over $60. You will have 3 pots about 5 cms apart, one above the other. There will be a frame behind them though holding it all together, so its still a good solution if you don’t already have a frame on the wall. This is our benchmark.
  2. Each of the pots used in the video costs less than $13. So three are maximum $39
  3. A pair of those hooks were less than $2.50, so three sets cost a maximum of $7.50
  4. Total 3 pot set comes to less than $46.50, a saving of around $15 – or 25%

(Note: this video was filmed early 2014 – prices will vary as time goes on, but I hope the savings will stay similar)

This isn’t a massive savings, however a few of points on this:

  • Urban gardening is about using what you have as efficiently as you can. It pays to get into the habit of being thrifty with space, your time and money
  • If I wanted to fill the wall with these pots, I could get at least 10 sets of 3. That makes the savings minimum $150. Now that is worth thinking about.
  • Also, think of how many seeds you can buy just from the $15 savings

An additional benefit of this set up is that I have much more flexibility. I don’t need to stack my pots in sets of three one above the other. This will make for a much more aesthetically pleasing vertical garden.


Pineapple Benefits: Reasons To Grow Pineapples At Home

There are many benefits to growing pineapples – and shortly I will produce a series of videos showing you how to propagate and grow pineapples for yourself. So to precede this series though I thought I’d share some thoughts about the benefits of pineapples and why you’d want to grow them.

Pineapple Benefit 1 – Growing Pineapples is Easy

Growing pineapples is actually pretty easy – if you are patient. Once you have a pineapple, you can pretty much turn that into an endless farm of pineapple fields is you had the time, space and patience. So the good news is if you love pineapples and recycling – you can turn these loves into unlimited supply of both :)

Pineapple plants are drought tolerant. This is great for us people growing them in Australia. Personally I live on the Gold Coast and I just do not water my pineapple plants at all. If you don’t understand the conditions we have here on the Gold Coast, we are borderline tropical. So we seem to get a mix of summer, autumn, winter, spring; combined with a partial wet season/dry season. Its a bit mixed up. We do get periods of 6 – 12 weeks of no rain though and my pineapples continue to grow and produce fruit whether I water them or not during these spells.

There is one extra tip I have for Aussie backyard growers too – as soon as you think your pineapple is ripe, pick it. Even if you then leave it for a day or too sitting inside in the sun to fully ripen. I have had many a pineapple stolen by local marauding possums over the years :)

Pineapple Benefit 2 – Pineapples Are Good For You

Pineapples are very good for you. I could write a book on this but rather, I thought I’d condense some of the health benefits into bullet points so you don’t have to read for months…

  • Despite being full of vitamins and minerals, pineapples are very low in calories.
  • They contain bromelain which is an enzyme that:
    • helps break down protein
    • has anti-inflammatory properties
    • has anti-clotting properties
    • has anti-cancer properties
  • Comes full of vitamin C
  • Has a bunch of other elements which help control heart rate and blood pressure

Pineapple Benefit 3 – They Look Pretty Cool

Most of the time a pineapple is a simple spikey plant. If you pick the right corner of your garden they look pretty cool year round. All of a sudden though, you get this bit piece of “multi-fruit” growing out of the centre of it. I never tire of people walking past my pineapple plants and hearing the “Wow – thats a pineapple” comment that come back. People really are astounded when you have pineapples growing in your garden. Its a lot of fun.

The Backyard In Australia

Backyard gardening in Australia can be quite challenging, especially if you want to have a native or organic garden. There are many reasons why this is so. Here are some of them

Australia’s Size

Australia is a pretty large piece of land. It covers a bout 4000 kms from east to west and when you look south to north, its not much shorter. We have the Tropic of Capricorn running through the country, we have deserts, rainforests, mountains and normal regular areas. We have just about every landscape and climate on the planet. What this means is that the plants that work well in your backyard are likely very different to the plants that work well in my backyard. So you need to understand what works well in your area, given the weather and conditions that your plants will have to cope with.

You should do some homework – understand what is going on. That way if you want plants that are not 100% suited to your backyard, you can take appropriate action to give them the maximum chance of thriving.

Australia’s Plant Diversity

This is particularly a challenge if you want to create a native backyard. Plants are not really native to Australia – they are native to your suburb within Australia. So someone creating a native garden in Queensland will have a very different garden to someone creating a native garden in Victoria. If you want to use native plants in your backyard but are not sure where to start, I’d try the website of your local council – they usually have an interest or program in bringing “native” back into the region and have great resources on the topic.

Australia’s Harsh Climate

Lets face it, the climates across Australia are pretty harsh. If we are not being threatened of losing everything in a flood or bushfire, we are probably experiencing the worst drought in 50 years. Most places in Australia now have permanent water restrictions of some form. We need to be resourceful not only in our gardening, but also in collecting and preserving the bare necessities for the garden. Soil and water.

All these things though I think actually work in our favor. They give us pause to think about what we really are doing. If we use that pause well, we end up with a sustainable backyard garden that ends up being beautiful, bountiful and leaves the land in better shape than before we started. Now that’s pretty cool isn’t it!