Get down to the gutter

City dwellers across the world are getting some green into their homes with rain gutter gardens. Here’s how...

Published: 21st July 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2019 12:14 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

No lawn to love? No garden to grow? Fret not, for where there’s a will, there’s a way—as long as you have the wherewithal. And that comes in the shape of rain gutters. The concept is simple—the rain gutters function as long, shallow pots and are conducive to long, narrow spaces, such as balconies or boundary walls and fencing. All you need to do is fill them up with soil and put in plants that don’t need a lot of growing space. 

There are two main type of gutters—aluminum and PVC—both of which are suitable for repurposing as a gutter garden. Metal gutters will eventually rust while plastic ones have potential to last indefinitely. The advantage with rain gutters is that they usually come in long, 20-ft sections, so they can run along the entire length of your boundary wall or balcony or be cut to whatever size you desire. When installing, just make sure that the gutter is supported at least every four feet.
To prepare it for planting, you will first need to drill drain holes every six inches in the bottom to prevent the plants from becoming waterlogged. A potting mix, just like what is used for any potted plant, works well for a rain gutter planter.

Now, what to plant? There are plenty of options and you can go with a theme if you like. Like a salad garden, for instance. These greens are harvested when small and tender, and can be planted again and again for a constant stream of veggies. For these, mount your gutter anywhere that receives at least six hours of sun each day. Herb gardens are another great option. Annual ones, like basil, dill and coriander, are a good choice, as are smaller perennial herbs like thyme and oregano. 

But if you would rather grow flowers to add that dash of colour, the key is to use smaller species like pansies, poppies and marigolds that will bloom abundantly in just a few inches of soil. Smaller succulents are another good idea as they don’t need much looking after. Work with the smaller species, such as sedum, echeveria and sempervivum.


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