Vertical Gardening Examples at the 2014 Chicago Flower and Garden Show

Posted on

This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.

Comtoday with another exciting episode for you.

We're here in the Windy City — actually,you might as well call it the snow-laden city today.

We're here in March.

It's actuallystill quite cold here; cold enough to have snow and snowball fights.

Something a littlebit weird for me since in March is when I'm usually starting to put out some of my summercrops in the West Coast.

In any case, why I'm here today is to go to the 2014 ChicagoFlower and Garden Show.

I definitely can't wait to get inside and share with you guyssome of the ways you can grow more food at home, so let's head inside to Chicago Flowerand Garden Show 2014.

Thank God I'm actually inside the ChicagoFlower and Garden Show.

Man, it's so cold outside.

I'm not used to this crazy, coldweather here in Illinois.

In any case, inside here at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show,there are many areas to discover.

I'm going to go ahead and give you guys a pan shot toshow you guys what it is and talk to you about some of the different areas real quick.

Overlookingthe Chicago Garden and Flower Show, there are different display areas, mostly containingnon-edible plants.

It's really nice to see all this green in an artificial environment.

I really wish this was really outside; it looks pretty cool.

It even looks like I couldtake a vacation in that little Pagoda hut like I'd be in Bali in a hotel living, whichwould be nice.

But, there are a good percentage of edible displays, but most are ornamental.

So what we're going to do in this part of the video here is we're going to go down tosome of the edible displays that are going to help you learn some of the ways they'regrowing food here and how you can grow some food at home.

Now we're at the display garden of the UrbanFood-to-Table.

This is sponsored by a high school here in Chicago that's dedicated toteaching agriculture.

I think this is a very important concept that every school districtin the nation should have a high school dedicated to teaching kids about agriculture.

I mean,think about it; we all need to eat.

They have some amazing examples of growing food andhow you guys can grow some food at home.

So because you probably aren't able to make ithere, I'm going to share some of these growing tips with you, especially useful if you'rehere in Chicago.

Being outside here in Chicago, it's reallycold.

But, yes, you can still grow plants in the wintertime in Chicago with somethinglike this.

I call this a little hot box.

And what they're doing basically is they haveplants planted on the inside and they basically have a framing — a 2 x 6, 2 x 12 framingon the outside — and then they have some old, recycled glass windows from a house — double-panedprobably might be better.

What they're going to do is they're going to raise this up inthe daytime to get some air circulation when it's nice and warm, close it up in the nightand it's going to retain some of the heat at night, and it will allow your plants togrow.

One of the things I've noticed here in Chicago is inside, behind some windows,in the sun, it's actually nice and warm, but the problem is that it's so cold that thewarm air gets diluted with all the cold.

So, if you can create literally a little miniaturegreenhouse to keep your plants warm, they're going to grow for you and they're going todo quite well.

Let's go ahead and take a look at another way you can also grow some foodhere in the colder months here in Chicago.

So, besides using a hot box or what most peoplecall a cold frame that you guys just saw, you can also have a little raised bed, inbed garden, put hoops over it and have a little hoop house raised bed garden.

And what they'vedone here is simply taken some inexpensive PVC, and actually put the fittings — drilledholes into the framing — and stuck the fitting into there.

And these are like the fittingsthat are at this angle; I think they're at a 45 degree angle.

And then they put the PVCin up over the top, and then they have connectors to make it more solid and to connect the pieces.

And then they're just putting some nice plastic over it.

I definitely encourage you guys toget an agricultural-based plastic because if you just get the cheap plastic sheetingfrom the Home Depot, it's going to degrade probably within a season.

The UV light isgoing to degrade that stuff so quickly.

But, this is a way that you can actually keep itwarmer underneath here in the days and grow some more cold-tolerant crops.

So plants suchas leeks, kales, collard greens and cabbages might do well in a system like this, as longas you get good sunny days and make sure they're covered at night and get some air circulationin there as well.

So here's a real cool way to grow some thingsvertically in your yard.

I mean, what they're doing here is cool; I've never seen this inall of my travels.

It looks like they have some 5-gallon buckets here sunk into the ground– of course you don't need to sink it into the ground, but you might want to do thatfor some stability — and then they basically just got a 4 x 4 plastic post that you woulduse to put up a fence, and then they got some PVC pipe that's actually stuck into it sothey got it really tight at a nice angle, and then they got some net pots with the ceramicball for hydroponics, and they're growing a lot of different fruits out of them.

Andthey got these little tower garden that they made, so this is totally ingenious and definitelya good use of some of the products to grow some food vertically at home.

Normally, I'm not a big fan of fences becauseyou can't really grow something on a fence, and everybody has a fence between their neighborsand them.

On the backside of this wall is just a solid wall so your neighbor sees nothingbut wall, but on your side, they actually put these wooden pallets, and they build itwith dirt, and they're building a whole wall of different lettuces and strawberries andkales inside.

It's just an amazing use of some space to grow some food vertically.

So, here's a way to garden if you don't havegarden space.

You can literally grow on a wall, and this is an excellent example ofdoing such.

And what they're using today is just using standard rain gutters — so metalrain gutters that actually have slopes so it kind of goes down.

You can see the waterrunning down that one and there are slopes in the other direction so water runs downand goes onto the next level and next level.

And it's feeding all of the little plantsthat are in there.

So it looks like they got some thyme, basil, oregano and some cilantrogrowing, and they have a pump that's just pumping the water and re-circulating the waterconstantly so that you can have herbs on your wall.

Now, we're at the booth of the Universityof Illinois extension office, and what they do is teach people about growing food, gardening,all of that kind of stuff.

They have a little brochure here about growing and exploringAsian vegetables, which I would encourage all of you out there to grow some Asian vegetables.

They're unique and interesting crops that you may have never tasted because they'renot generally available at your local grocery store.

But, when you're growing your own food,you get to choose what you want to grow.

So they have all different kinds of mustards,mabuna (couldn't find correct spelling; sorry, but this is around 6:55 min.

), mizuna — alldifferent kinds of cool stuff.

Now, I want to also remind and encourage you guys thatmost states in the nation have a University extension office dedicated to teaching youguys where you live the specific plants and vegetables that are going to grow best, thatare recommended to grow in your area, as well as when to grow them, through your local Universityextension office.

So be sure to reach out to your local University extension officeto get the step-by-step guide on how to grow food in your area.

As much as I know, I knowmy zones fairly well — what to plant, what to grow — and you learn this over time.

Butif you're new to gardening, your local University extension office can be a great wealth ofknowledge to help get you started.

There are many areas of the Flower and GardenShow that I'm not going to share with you guys.

Actually, one that's really nice thatI like a lot being here in Chicago when it's kind of dreary outside this time of year,is a tulip garden.

I want to courage you guys to plant some flowers that are also edible.

Plant some daylilies.

Daylilies look beautiful, but they're also edible as well, and they'regoing to go great here in Chicago.

What we're going to do next is actually share with youguys some of the areas on ways you can grow food at home and maybe even some uncommonplants you can eat.

Now we're here in another area of the ChicagoFlower and Garden Show and this ara is to highlight some of the plants you can growthat will attract other earthlings — those are creatures that live on here, not necessarilyhumans, but things like insects and birds.

Did you know the Baltimore Orioles are morethan just a baseball team? They're actually a bird that loved to visit the Golden Alexandersto eat the bugs off of it.

Many other birds may visit other flowers for their nectar orpollen, and I want to encourage you guys to grow some plants that are going to encouragesome beneficial insects and wildlife into your garden.

They're a part of the ecology,part of nature, and they can help control some insects.

In addition, many people don'tknow that the Golden Alexanders are also edible for us; I would encourage everybody to visita website, pfaf.

Org to learn more about some uncommon edibles that you may already be growingor that you could be growing in your landscape to feed you and your family.

Probably my favorite display garden at thiswhole place is right there.

It's the Peterson Garden Project.

It's basically a display ofthe book they wrote specifically to the Chicagoland area to allow people to grow more food andteach people, more specifically, how to grow and prepare their own food.

This is one ofmy missions and I'm glad there is this organization in town to help the people of Chicago to dowhat I do in a more localized setting, and to give them hands-on instruction, and moreimportantly, write an instruction manual on how to grow food if you live here year-round.

What they're showing here is mainly the workof the book that they've done — and this is The Fearless Food Gardening Guide in Chicagoland.

I know a lot of you guys may not have yet started gardening because you're afraid ofgardening.

Don't worry, I guarantee no plants will ever bite you back; neither will thedirt.

So don't be afraid of gardening.

I know things that are new, different, that you haven'ttried before can be quite fearful because you don't know what to expect, but with thisguide, it takes out the fear so you can grow food fearlessly.

Because what they're doneis they've done all the work; they've done all the research.

And this is a food manualon how to grow food specifically, month by month, here in Chicago and also other places– in zones 5 and 6.

So if you live in zones 5 or 6, I definitely want to recommend thisguide because what it does in here is tells you ever month exactly what you should bedoing to get successful growing results in your garden.

In addition, it talks about compostingand all of the good things and how to grow a natural, organic garden.

So what they'vedone — and they even going over different bugs and pests and stuff.

And what they'vedone in this booth is actually take their book and expanded it out to share with peopleattending the Chicago Flower and Garden Show what they should be doing as to edibles eachmonth of the year to keep some food growing year-round.

Now, we're going to walk in to the PetersonGarden Project Fearless Food Gardening presentation here.

I think first I want to walk over andshare with you guys what they're doing and how you can grow with them.

They have eightdifferent community gardens all around the Chicagoland area, and there are things thatyou might want to know about the Peterson Garden Project.

They're inspired by the VictoryGardens in World War II, and they want to replicate the World War II Victory Gardenand teach as many people in Chicago as possible the valuable skill of growing their own food.

Let's see, more than 40,000 people have been engaged in gardening, classes, lectures andevents since 2010.

To order the book or learn more, if you live in the Chicago area, youwant to visit petersongarden.


I definitely think an organization like the Peterson GardenProject should pretty much in every city in the nation to teach this valuable knowledgeon how to grow your own food.

I mean, we all need to eat, and most people do not know howto grow their own food.

They know how to go to the supermarket, grocery store or fastfood restaurant and buy some food.

I mean, this is a skill that should be taught in everyschool around the country.

I really like the layout of this booth.

It'sactually nice and large, and flows very well.

Here's January and February, and it says:"winter in Chicago is daunting.

By January, the holiday frenzy has subsided and cold weatherhas settled in for the long haul.

You're stuck indoors most of the time, daydreaming aboutwarmer temperatures — and hopefully even learning some stuff by watching my videos– but hopes spring's eternal as the days go by.

Now is an opportune time to imagineand plan your garden.

" And get all of your tools and everything, supplies, ready.

Ofcourse then you're going to want to plan out your garden and draw it out on a map — alittle guide.

Here's how you can do it — have a little raised bed with a trellis for vines.

Maybe even start your seeds.

They even teach you how to build a raised bed with a drilland assemble it so it's nice and reinforced.

Of course, that's in April time.

Then, protectyour plants from cold and pests by putting up a fence — to prevent animals and fromcats pooing and peeing in your empty, raised bed.

Showing you guys how to have a row coveror a total entire cage over our raised bed, or how to keep your plants warm with cloches,whether it's a glass of a cut-off plastic jug.

Also telling you guys how to read a seedpacket; they have examples of seed packets here so that you can try and read.

Some ofmy favorite representatives, such as Seed Savers Exchange, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds,Renee's Garden, as well as Kitazawa Seed Company — that's kind of cool — and Botanical Interests.

So here's another good example of how to growsome food just in a stock tank if you don't have any space in the ground.

Just bring ina large container, fill it up with some good compost and soil, and start growing some food.

In May, they tell you what you should do in May.

You can start harvesting and eating thefruits of your labor, literally.

Here, they're educating about growing heirlooms.

This isvery important.

I have a video on this one; most people don't know this.

You want to dowhat's called a "cut and come again" greens.

I call this "sustainable harvesting.

" Andthey tell you guys which ones to eat and which ones to leave to grow so they plants can growmore.

And some of things are not normally taught in certain books because many timespeople just cut the whole plant down and harvest the whole thing, which then kind of bitesyou in the butt because you're not going to have as much food to eat if you don't havea lot of space.

They also teach you about growing vertically.

And in June, they're talkingabout harvesting and how to plan menus around what you're creating.

I mean, this is somethingthat I've taken for granted because I know how to use all of the produce that I makein my garden, but many people do not because they're not used to growing all of their ownfood or the majority of their food, and using fruits and vegetables in their diet.

Here'sa little display on the good bugs.

We're taught that bugs are bad because we're scared ofbugs, but there are actually a lot of good bugs in your garden that may kick ass andeat the bad bugs that'll eat your plants.

These beneficial bugs tend to eat the badbugs.

And of course, in July and August, talking about getting some fall crops growing.

Theyalso talk about preserving your plants in September, and here's a simple way to preserveyour plants, simply by hanging them to let them to dry.

Of course in October, it startsto get colder in Chicago, so building something like a cold frame or a hoop house so thatyou can grow through the winter here in Chicago.

And, always when I come to garden events,I always learn something new.

Here is something new I learned today — a new word.

It's calla "grewbie.

" Are you a grewbie? A grewbie is a novice gardener; specifically one thatis inexperienced at growing edible plants, but excited to learn more.

Hopefully, you guys enjoyed this little tourof the Peterson Garden Project display here.

And I definitely want to encourage you guysto be fearless food gardeners because you guys can do it; definitely with the help ofmy videos that teach so much.

But, if you live in the Chicagoland area, you definitelywant to check out this organization, link up with them, volunteer and take classes fromthem.

More importantly, buy their books so you can start growing your own food today.

To learn more about them and their organization, you want to visit petersongardenproject.


So what I want to show you guys next is reallycool.

It's actually called a "living wall" so you can plant non-edibles.

And they havemany of these living walls basically hanging out here at the Chicago Flower and GardenShow.

And they have a few planted out in entirely edibles.

Let me go ahead and show you guyswhat this is.

It's literally a screen, so if you have pesky neighbors you don't wantto watch, instead of putting up a fence, have an edible wall.

These are on casters you canmove them into the sun.

And it's a wall that actually has a built-in irrigation systemthat you literally just hook up a hose to and it waters automatically.

Here are thenice walls full of kale and bebon and parsley on the backside.

So let me go ahead and showthis to you guys.

Check it out, man, an edible wall on wheels so that when I'm traveling,I can bring my greens with me.

Now the challenge with the edible wall is this guy is quitea bit, a chunk of change; it's $1,400 to have your own edible wall at home.

They'll sellsmaller kits that do cost less, but still, in my opinion, they're quite cost-prohibitive.

But I mean these are commercial quality that you'll probably buy once and never have toinvest in anything again.

What we're looking at now is the back of ashed actually.

And what they're using are products from Gro Products like a verticalplanter to grow things vertically up the wall.

I always want to encourage you guys to useevery possible space in your yard, on your property, to grow some food.

If you only havea vertical wall, plant some things on your wall.

I've shown you a few different waysyou can do that, and here is just yet another way.

What we're going to do next is actuallygo into the vendor area and actually Gro Products is exhibiting today.

So I'm going to showyou guys some unique features of this Gro Products' wall garden that you can put upand start growing vertically.

Now we're at the booth of Gro Products andyou can check them out at GroProducts.


Of all the different booths here at this eventtoday, this is my favorite one by far because it allows you guys to grow vertically, especiallyif you're not handy or if you don't have any woodworking skills.

All of this stuff comescompletely assembled so that you can assemble and start growing vertically in your hometoday.

So let's actually show you guys some of these real wood products made here in theUnited States.

Now, what we're looking at is the verticalgrow system.

And this is a wall system, so unlike a lot of smaller vertical systems thatI've seen before, this one encompasses 6 feet by 5 feet tall, and it allows you to growa lot of things.

So this is really good if you don't have any land to plant in; maybeif you live in a condo or apartment, you can actually attach this to the wall.

Actually,it's on a stand as well.

It's made out of red cedar; that's a bug-resistant and fairlyweather-resistant wood to use, one of the ones I use in my raised bed construction.

I would also recommend treating this with a natural, mineral-based product that I dohave episodes on.

But, the cool thing about this system — there are a few things.

Numberone — check it out — we can take this and literally lift this whole thing off.

So youcan adjust this, based on your plants' needs; so if your plants are tall, you can spacethem out taller, and if your plants are short like herbs, you can put them closer togetherso you can grow more food.

Another cool thing, besides being fully adjustable, is that youcan actually just pop these guys out here, which is really nice; each one has a linerso the water never comes in contact with the wood underneath, so it will not rot.

Theseones can be used inside because they do not come pre-drilled with holes in the bottom.

If you do want to have some drainage, you will want to put holes in it so it can drainto the outside.

If you are using it inside, I definitely encourage you guys not to watertoo much because if it's not draining, water is going to pool in there and that's not goingto be a good situation for most plants.

Let's go ahead and put this guy back in here.

Besideshaving the little long planters, which would be great for things like herbs and maybe smallergreens like lettuces and things like that, they have these little planters here thatare good for larger crops like tomatoes, maybe some peppers.

And with this one, once again,self-contain it in a pot so that it will not rot your wood out; it's going to be lookinggood for many years to come.

And this pot will actually hold a fair bit of soil; it'sprobably about a 2.

5 gallon-pot or so.

Easily now, you can grow tomatoes, peppers and fruitingcrops, as well as all of your greens.

You don't want to fill an entire wall becauseyou don't have an entire wall to fill.

You can get a freestanding unit such as this one.

They have this size, which is the size I prefer the most, as well as one that's a little bitshorter like 18 inches wide, instead of this one, which is 30 inches wide.

And once again,these shelves are fully adjustable and have the little removable holders here.

They'requite affordably priced and this system is expandable.

This system comes with three differentlevels, but you can add maybe like two more if you're growing herbs that don't get tootall.

To grow actually a lot of food in a self-contained unit; and it's on legs so it'sfreestanding so you do not need to even mount this to a wall or anything.

One of the coolfeatures that I might recommend to you guys is — one of the ways I would use this isto start my seedlings or start my plants in it, you can roll it outside in the nice sunnydays and then roll it inside.

Actually, you can order it with some casters.

Or, if youwant to grow some herbs and wheel it outside in the day and wheel it inside at night soyou can harvest some for your dinner.

Gro Products also allows you to grow in a growtable like this; once again, a great solution for people that live in condos, apartments,who maybe rent their home or people that don't want to bed over to work in the garden.

Thisis a nice raised bed.

I installed one similar to this for a friend that I have who is actuallyin a wheelchair.

And this would be good for people in wheelchairs, the elderly or evenif you got some back problems.

And this one is a little bit different than most of theother ones I've ever shown you guys because this is literally the square-foot garden table,which allows you to grow in the square-foot method.

It's actually like a 2 foot x 3 foot,and they actually separate out the feet.

So you know, many times in a square-foot garden,you'll use the strings or the different window blinds or wood to separate out the littlesquares so you know how much to plant and what to plant.

They take it to the next level;you can actually even put pots in here.

So, these pots here — if I can get one out, they'requite heavy with the soil — these pots are basically a one-foot square pot.

They havesix of them in here; so you can grow six plants one-foot apart, or if you want to fill thiswith four smaller plants, or even eight smaller plants like the radishes and things like that,you can do just that.

So definitely a really intelligent design and this is something Ihaven't really seen before.

In addition, they have irrigation set ups that you can attachto the wall plants, as well as this unit for a complete solution so you can start growingsome food at home.

If you're interested in learning more about the Gro Products, be sureto visit them at GroProducts.


Now, we're here at the Dr.

Earth booth hereat the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.

I'm actually happy to see the Dr.

Earth productsavailable here in Chicagoland.

They have distribution all over the country, but I have noticed thatit can be hard to find because only select retailers may sell it.

If you have a TrueValue hardware store near you, you can go in there and request them to bring it in becauseit is in all of their distribution centers, and it is a really good product.

And the reasonwhy I like the Dr.

Earth products — to sum it up — they're gardening in the style thatI do, which is what I call "biological gardening.

" They have unique ingredients in some of theirproducts that really encourage the microbes and they also add the trace minerals intothe soil so that you get awesome plant growth, even organically.

So, actually, let's takea look at some of the bagged product and share with you guys some of the cool ingredientsthat they're using.

So they got a potting soil here and they alsohave a planting mix here.

Now, the potting soil is better for pots and the planting mixis better for out in your garden.

And the reason why I like the Dr.

Earth products isbecause they have some unique ingredients that actually I use when I make up my ownplanting mix.

For beginners and people who don't know exactly what to put in their soils,this is the best way to do it.

Get a proven product that has the good ingredients likethe Dr.


The reason why I like the Dr.

Earth's is because it has the earthwormcastings, literally worm poop, that's really rich in biology and also rich in a lot ofnutrition for your plants.

It also has the kelp meal, which adds the trace minerals intothe soil as well as a lot of other good stuff.

More importantly, for me, is that they'renot using, in the majority of their products, any kind manures — no chicken manure, nocow manure.

Actually, they don't use any chicken or cow manure in any of their products, andI like this a lot because in a natural-based system, in a forest, there aren't piles ofcow manure that people are growing their food in or that trees are grown out of.

Yea, thereare cows that do their business here and there, but now the mass amount of manure products.

So I like that they're not using any manure products.

Instead of using the standard bonemeal, which is usually from pig actually, which is kind of weird, they're using fishmeal.

And the fish actually have more nutrition or minerals in their bones, because thinkabout it, they're living in the ocean.

The ocean is rich in the minerals; that's wherewe get all of the salty water and all of minerals in there.

And then also you got the soybeanmeal, which is a non-GMO soy meal, which is a nutrient for the plants.

And besides justthat, if you look on the back of the package which I recommend for any soil blend in abag, you want to check the ingredients.

Some of the things that are most important forme, besides just having the nutrition in there, is providing the beneficial bacteria, suchas the beneficial soil microbes and the endo- and ectomycorrhiza, which actually helps escortnutrients into the plants.

And most products out there do not contain the minerals or themicrobes — and I'm really big on my minerals and microbes.

It'll really allow your plantsto be healthier, grow better and yield more food for you.

So besides the bagged soil products, you alsohave organic and biologic fertilizers that you can use.

They have the standard tomato,vegetable and herb fertilizer, which is good; this contains nutrients for your plants, primarilythe fishbone meal to provide the minerals, but also the beneficial microbes, such asthe fungi and the bacteria, but also a probiotic that encourages the bacterial growth.

Normally,you don't see probiotics in soil bags, but you'll see them in something like supplementsfor people to take because we also have probiotics in us, and guess what, the soil is kind oflike our digestive system.

Things needs to be digested to get absorbed by the plants.

Now, for people out there on a vegan diet that don't want to put animal products intotheir soil, they have Vega, a vegan all-purpose fertilizer that does not contain any animalproducts; so I like this a lot for people trying to do that.

Now, the last thing I wantto mention here at the Dr.

Earth booth is that every year, Dr.

Earth puts out a "Dr.

Earth Gardening Guide.

" This is the current version and this is actually last year's versionhere.

And this is a free magazine.

If you go to the website, drearth.

Com, you can requestit and they will mail this to you for free.

So I recommend all of my viewers to go todrearth.

Com; I'll put a link right below this video — a link directly to get this magazineand get it sent directly to you.

Besides being a good read, which it is.

There is so muchdifferent useful information, learning about organic gardening, using products in yourgarden that are safe for your kids, if you have kids, and your pets.

We don't want toget our pets — our loved ones — sick from using toxic chemicals in our garden.

It hasa couple of ads built in, but there is a lot of good information, especially for new gardenersold ones alike.

I'm sure you'll learn something if you get one of these guys sent to you.

So I definitely encourage you guys to check that out and look for Dr.

Earth's productsat a nursery near you.

That'll bring us to the end of this episodehere at the 2014 Chicago Flower and Garden Show.

I definitely had a fun time playinga day of hooky from my real work to come here to share with you guys all of the cool, ediblethings happening.

Hopefully you guys learned a few things from this episode, includingsome of the products that'll allow you to grow food vertically, as well as some techniquesthat you may be able to use in your garden so that you can grow more food at home.

So be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channelif you're not already to learn more tips.

And be sure to check my past episodes; I haveover 900 episodes now that teach you all aspects of growing food at home because I want youguys to be a fearless gardener and be able to grow food at home with no problem, justlike you're sleepwalking.

Once again, my name is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.


We'll see you next time, and remember, keep on growing.

Source: Youtube