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Edibles2019-02-07T14:58:36+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?2019-02-08T14:32:31+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?2019-02-14T15:42:05+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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2019-02-19T09:01:48+00:00

Culinary staff at this East Grand Rapids restaurant harvest fresh green wall herbs minutes before using them.

2019-02-19T09:18:17+00:00

This living wall greens up the patio at One Bourbon restaurant with brightly-colored flowering annuals.

2019-02-19T11:38:58+00:00

Bobarino's Outdoor Dining Area with Vertical Gardens Bobarino's is a popular restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.  From spring to fall, planted walls surround diners enjoying an escape [...]

2019-02-05T11:12:20+00:00

Colorful LiveWall with Ornamental Cabbage in November

2019-02-04T14:22:50+00:00

Tumbling Tom Tomatoes Harvested from Vertical Garden

2019-02-19T11:10:47+00:00

Vertical Garden Produces Quality Ingredients When it comes to the art of food, it starts with the quality of ingredients.  The best way to ensure quality is to pick [...]

2019-02-19T11:16:39+00:00

Living Wall Brings Fresh Herbs and Greens to the Menu A living wall is a highly visible and engaging way to advertise the freshness of menu items. In [...]

2019-02-19T11:33:22+00:00

Brie Arthur's Herb-filled LiveScreen Brie Arthur is a horticultural author and passionate leader in the "foodscape movement," defined as a model of community development that incorporates sustainable, local [...]

2019-02-19T14:37:47+00:00

Ten smaller green walls make up a larger demonstration of how vertical gardens can bring fresh produce to urban spaces tight on ground-level landscapes.

2019-01-25T16:12:43+00:00

Leafy Green Wall Planting with Lettuce, Kale, and Chard

2019-02-04T14:47:46+00:00

Vertical Garden of Herbs, Greens and Vegetables Herbs, greens and vegetables grow well in lots of sunlight.  Vertical gardens convert sunlight to food, while cooling the surroundings through [...]

2019-02-19T11:00:41+00:00

Freund Residence Vertical Garden Provides Fresh Herbs and Greens This Parade of Homes residence features a "food wall," which uses the LiveWall system to vertically grow herbs and [...]

2019-02-20T15:55:56+00:00

SIX.ONE.SIX. Restaurant at JW Marriott, Chef's Wall of Herbs Six.One.Six. offers French-inspired dishes from its riverside restaurant in the main lobby of the Grand Rapids JW Marriott.  During [...]

2019-02-19T14:21:48+00:00

This restaurant's beer garden includes a bocce ball court next to a living wall featuring edible and ornamental plants.

2019-02-19T09:03:43+00:00

This combination living wall planting includes flowering annual, aromatic herb and sweeping sedges.

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