Recycled Gutter Planter | Maximizing Your Growing Space on an Urban Farm

May 31st

On my little urban “farm” space is at a premium. In order to maximize growing space we’ve gotten pretty creative over the years. From multi-tiered planter systems, raised strawberry “beds” (planters raised on a custom-built risers) to edible plants crammed into every nook and cranny of our yard, we are always trying to “improve” our garden real-estate. Flowers persist only when vegetables happen to have pretty flowers too – peas, chives and the like.

One challenge I’ve always had is finding space for delicate, baby lettuce. Not only does it take up space and require precise watering, baby lettuce is also a favorite snack of the terrible, intolerable Northwest native S.L.U.G. Those dreaded slimy, ferocious, apparently starving creatures of mass destruction. I can’t even count how many vegetable starts have been ravaged. From cucumbers to basil to kale – all have been munched down to the nubbins by these muculent beasts.

So when we put up a new picket fence along our property, we seized on the opportunity to try out a trick we saw when on the Tilth Urban Farm Tour a couple of years ago – a strawberry planter made from a recycled gutter. But rather than leaving it on the ground, we raised it up a notch – literally. We hung up the gutter along the top rail of the fence line and next thing we knew we had almost 40 linear feet of planting space.

And the best part? it was 4 feet off the ground – out of reach from the treacherous reaches of said slugs.

Here’s how we did it:

  1. Cut a piece of gutter to length.
  2. Drill 2″ hole on one end of the gutter to serve as a drain.
  3. Insert drain hole (gutter drain).
  4. Cover drain hole with wire mesh and glue in place.
  5. Drill hole in gutter end cap to fit hose connector.
  6. Connect end caps to both sides of gutter.
  7. Run length of soaker hose along gutter.
  8. Fill gutter with soil.
  9. Connect hose for watering.
  10. Sow lettuce seeds and enjoy!