Spring is just around the corner, so we’ve started some seeds indoors and are planning our garden.
In our last home our backyard was small, but it was perfect for a garden. The term “full sun” was invented for our backyard; there was only shade when the sun was down. In the summer it felt like standing inside a dryer on high heat. I would regularly hang clothes on the line and they would be dry in under an hour, so the dryer comparison really isn’t an exaggeration.
The yard was in hospitable to humans, but perfect for growing vegetables, so I gave pretty much the whole thing over to a garden. (Plus, there was a streetlight right over our yard, so I could work in the garden at night when it was cooler. I know, WHY DID WE MOVE!?)
The backyard in our new house is much larger, but it has a huge willow oak. The oak provides shade, making the space hospitable for non-reptilian creatures, but it doesn’t have many sunny spots for the garden of our dreams.
We’re trying some vertical gardening.
I saw this idea on Pinterest:
I love this idea, and we have a shed that gets a ton of sun. The site the shot came from doesn’t provide directions, so we were sort of winging it. We learned a few things along the way, but I’m really excited about the final product.
Before we started, our shed looked like this.
Tom bought two 10’ gutters. Gutters are incredibly cheap. I had no idea. Just $5 for 10’.
The side of our shed is a little more than 7’ long, so instead of cutting the gutters to 7’ and having 3’ left over, we just decided to cut them in half and stagger them on the wall.
They cut easily with a circular saw. Tiny plastic pieces flew everywhere, so strap on your safety goggles, people.
Next, I drilled a bunch of holes for drainage.
It was all going great until this happened.
Broken bit. Awesome. I have no idea why this happened. The drill had no problem getting through the gutter. It was definitely user error — I was sort of “punching” the gutter with the drill. Don’t do this. You will break your drill bit.
So Tom finished the drainage holes. We had enough broken bits for one day.
The next step is capping the ends. We got two pairs of handy gutter caps, which do a great job. But they cost $9 a pair. $9! That sure seemed steep because 1) 10’ of gutter was so cheap 2) we are so cheap.
We only got two pairs and vowed to figure out some other way to cap additional gutters.
They are sort of, um, perfect for the job though. Look how well they turned this:
Definitely put the caps on the gutters before attaching them to the wall. When they’re screwed on and flush with the wall, it’s hard/impossible to squeeze the cap on the gutter.
Next up was attaching them to the shed. The most secure way to put them up there was to screw them into the studs. We’d measured the shed wall, but not the distance between studs. We ended up with about 8 inches over hang. Oh well, but if we did it again, that’s something we’d do differently, i.e., LESSON LEARNED.
With the help of a level, a screwdriver, safety googles, and his lovely wife, Tom hung the gutters.
The whole process was pretty simple, especially from where I was standing.
By the way, no “Krieger family hang-gutters-on-the-shed Day” would be complete without the littlest Krieger.
His job was “lay in your bouncy chair and be happy”. But he didn’t take it seriously. He kept doing this.
So he got fired from that job and had to spend the rest of the time hanging out with mommy.
Ok, back to the business at hand.
This photo shows height and spacing. While he was hanging the first gutter, Tom pointed out that I’d have to use a step ladder whenever I needed to access them. True. But I REALLY wanted to start high because I planned to stagger gutters down the whole wall. Now I’m not sure we’re going to do that (what with the high price of gutter caps and all) so I’m second-guessing the height.
As for spacing, there’s about a foot between the first and second gutter.
Next up was my part. I filled each gutter with dirt, and planted a whole bunch of greens. My sister-in-law planted greens last year and they were awesome, so I just followed her lead. The bottom has arugula and butter crunch lettuce, the top has mesclun and a little spinach. Apparently they dry out quickly, so I’ll water them daily (so far I’m using a hose and don’t need a step ladder for that part).
I don’t have a lot of experience growing greens, but I’m looking forward to some fresh salad.
I’m also on the lookout for more plants that would thrive in these shallow planters.