Vertical Bucket Ladder Herb Garden

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Introducing the new vertical herb garden!

Well, actually a lot of it has been re-purposed. I got inspired after seeing a lumber yard employee stuff a bucket full of paint stir sticks between two ladder rungs.  I’ve been playing with ideas for urban gardens and growing in small spaces so I was really excited when the ladder idea clobbered me!

To start I found one of our old wood ladders (this one is 5′ tall) in the barn and scrubbed up some plastic buckets. I’m using 6 buckets here and did buy two new buckets.

One old stained bucket and a cracked goat grain feed tub received a few coats of “Fusion” plastic spray paint in a pretty terra-cotta color. This little tub was perfect for for planting 4 strawberry plants and it now happily hangs off the back support…almost like it grew there!

Old mini feed tub
Yes, I will grow Strawberries!

I also grabbed a small “very 80′s” wooden planter, gave it a coat of white paint and planted a little lemon thyme plant in it. It can sit on either the back or top of the ladder.

Now for the amazing part:

This whole shebang, including the terra-cotta bucket takes up an area of less than 3′ x 3′. Wow!

Here’s how I did it.

I drilled a hole on the side and towards the bottom of each bucket. Since the buckets sit at an angle on the ladder drilling in this spot will provide the best drainage.

drain hole in bucket
Drain Hole Drilled

I set the bucket in the ladder- with the drain hole facing down– and marked a spot for drilling the plant hole. I used a hole saw to cut out the plant holes. I wanted to tuck a few strawberries in them but you could plant more herbs if you wanted to.

drill planting hole in bucket
Hole Saw Going to Town

Once all my buckets were drilled I sawed the lids in half…or a little more than half. This allowed me to plant in the front of the buckets while holding the soil in place. That’s kind of important. I filled each tub up to the bottom of the rear plant hole with my prepared potting mix and started planting!

Bottom bucket with soil mix
Adding the soil mix

Strawberries went in first-since they were going to be towards the rear of the buckets.  From the inside of the bucket I just poked their leaves through the hole and firmed soil around them.

Herbs were added at the front of the buckets after the strawberry roots were well covered.

side strawberries vertical herb bucket ladder garden
Berries planted first!

Note that there are two buckets on the bottom of the ladder.

This adds more weight at the base to help stabilize the ladder. There is also room to plant some lettuce or other small greens in a container below the buckets.

side bucket passionflower Vertical herb bucket ladder garden
Feed tub planted with strawberries

I have a Passionflower vine in this bucket, but you could certainly plant a tomato or pepper or beans in your side buckets! The ladder will help support whatever you plant. How awesome is that?

So,what’s in this garden?

In the front buckets :

Top bucket – chives, and a strawberry

Second bucket down – creeping rosemary and a strawberry

Third bucket down – oregano, lemon thyme and a strawberry

Bottom Bucket – spearmint (just starting regrowth) and a strawberry. I did plant this strawberry in it’s own planting tub knowing the mint would strangle it otherwise.

On the back side:

Small white planter: thyme

Hanging Feed Tub: 4 strawberry plants

Bottom bucket: dwarf sage, parsley and a strawberry plant…

And I still have room on the top for another pot of some kind!

If you make a ladder garden of your own, please send pictures. I’d love to see what your ladder garden looks like :-)

Source: Growing Herbs For Beginners

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