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Edibles2018-08-30T15:25:25+00:00

Edible Plants for Living Walls

More building owners are turning to LiveWall to grow fresh produce on site.  Read on to learn more about the needs and types of vegetables, herbs and more that can be grown in a vertical garden.

What foods can I grow in a vertical garden?2018-08-31T15:44:17+00:00

Because of its natural orientation, roomy planters, efficient water delivery system and drainage design, LiveWall supports a broad variety of healthy edible plants.   Below are some of the foods that we have grown successfully in the LiveWall system.

Vegetables

  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers (miniature)
  • Eggplant (miniature)
  • Garlic
  • Onions (miniature)
  • Peppers (compact varieties)
  • Tomatoes (cascading / patio)
Woman with a box of peppers picked from a green wall.

Greens

  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Mustard Greens
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
Vertical garden for fresh, vitamin rich greens such as kale and chard.

Fruits

  • Muskmelon (midget)
  • Strawberries
Ever-bearing strawberries make a delicious living wall fruit.

Herbs for Sunny Walls

(typically South or West-facing)

  • Basil
  • Beebalm (Bergamot)
  • Borage
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Grass
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Nasturtium
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Stevia
  • Thyme
  • Wheat Grass
Sunny walls can grow the widest selection of herbs, such as rosemary.

Medicinal and Aroma-therapeutic

  • Aloe Vera
  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Catmint
  • Chamomile
  • Echinacea
  • Goldenseal
  • Hyssop
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli
  • Scented Geranium
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Yarrow
Lavender is one of many fragrant plants that can grow in a living wall.
What is needed for a successful vertical garden?2018-08-31T15:43:09+00:00

A vertical garden, or living wall used to grow food such as vegetables, herbs and fruits, requires several things – proper orientation, lighting, water, drainage and nutrition. LiveWall supports these basic plants needs and yields healthy vertical gardens.

Orientation
Plants need proper orientation to grow in a healthy manner, with the roots growing toward ground and leaves toward the sun.

In nature, nearly every edible plant grows with its roots toward the center of the earth (positive geotropism) and its stems and leaves toward the sun (negative geotropism).  Plants organs also tend to grow in a straight line (known as autotropism).   

When the plants are turned sideways in an unnatural orientation that results in unnatural growth patterns, as is the design of a number of vertical garden systems, they divert energy from foliar and fruit production in effort to correct their orientation. Some systems designed in this manner may also be prone to soil erosion and can be difficult to water or fertilize.

LiveWall offers natural orientation, with the plant roots growing downward and stems and leaves growing upward.

Light
Vertical gardens used for growing herbs and vegetables require abundant sunlight.

In most cases, typical indoor lighting is insufficient in intensity and inadequate in color spectrum to grow healthy edibles. Unfortunately, the small herb wall nested underneath your kitchen cabinets is not likely to perform well unless its facing a large, open window that gets several hours of direct sunlight daily, or supplemented with an intense light source of the right spectrum (such as the 15 degree Norb® bulb). 

An exterior living wall planted with edibles and receiving sufficient direct sunlight can produce abundant yields, approximately 1 ounce per square foot per week of greens and herbs.  Typically, food living walls perform best outdoors on south- or west-facing walls.

Water
Vertical garden vegetables such as tomatoes require frequent watering to bear fruit.

As with any plants, supplying the optimum amount of water — not too little and definitely not too much — is critical to success. With the LiveWall system, young edible plants will likely require just one minute per day of irrigation during summer months. As they grow larger, the green wall likely will need two minutes per day of irrigation. In extreme, prolonged heat, longer run times may be needed.

Our seasonal irrigation chart recommends exact runs times based upon wall orientation and average daily temperatures. Our vertical gardens are shipped with controllers or hose timers (on smaller applications), which can be set to run on a schedule. So, you are free to go on vacation without needing to find someone to care for the plants. In volunteer-run or community gardens, this is insurance against gaps in staffing. And, for restaurants, this means one less distraction from spending time in the kitchen.

Drainage
LiveWall planters and planter inserts have drain holes that allow each row of plants to drain if needed.

Proper drainage is perhaps the most overlooked plant need in competing vertical garden designs.  Positive drainage is necessary to prevent diseases, fungal or bacterial infections, and salt build-up in living wall planters.  

LiveWall systems are designed to drain for healthy roots.

Nutrition
Fertilizer is necessary to grow healthy herbs and vegetables in a living wall.

Vegetables, greens, and herbs require supplemental nutrition to produce foliage and fruit for consumption.

LiveWall makes it easy to fertilize.  On outdoor systems, a granular, controlled-release fertilizer can be applied, typical once or twice per growing season.  Alternatively, a fertigation unit feeds metered amounts of liquid plant food into the water at each irrigation event.

Easy replanting
Most herbs and vegetables have a limited lifecycle, so swapping them at the onset of each growing season should be easy.

Most edibles by their nature are annuals and require replanting each growing season.  With this in mind, we designed our vertical gardens to make the planting process easy. Removable planter inserts allow for the harvested, spent plants to be emptied and composted quickly and efficiently.

If desired, these inserts allow for young plants to be be started in a greenhouse. When the danger of frost has passed, the established vegetables or greens are simply dropped into place in the living wall.

Herbs and vegetables growing in green wall.

Healthy, cost effective, space saving—learn more about the benefits of growing fresh vegetables, herbs, greens, aromatic and medicinal plants, and small fruits in a green wall.

Benefits of Growing Food in Green Walls

Example LiveWall Projects – Planted with Vegetables, Herbs, or Fruits

For inspiration, we have added project examples to show the design flexibility of the LiveWall system when planted with herbs, greens, vegetables and medicinal plants.  For even more ideas, click the button to the right to view our entire showcase of green wall projects.

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2018-10-02T10:14:56+00:00

The versatility of the LiveScreen XL is on full display in this lobby at Loyola University in Chicago, IL. One side of the mobile garden is home to a stunning selection of annuals, including various coleus selections. The other side of the LiveScreen features s delicious selection of herbs. These herbs lend an aromatic quality that is invigorating to passersby.

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