Flowers & Blooms

How to Grow Plants in Rain Gutters

Gardeners tend to be very creative people. There are so many creative gardening solutions you can use as an inspiration for your own garden. This is particularly true for people who live in cold climates and have to find original ways to make their plants thrive.

One of potential, common problems is a small yard insufficient for gardening. Another problem that may arise is that only one side of your house is getting enough sunshine. An added problem in the cold climate is that the soil is always cold and contains little organic matter. Not to mention a potential pest problem: small and large pests (from slugs and root maggots to cats, porcupines, ravens, even bears) are a problem in many areas. What to do in this situation?

A creative and effective solution is to use rain gutters on the sunny side of the house and grow your plants that way.

Using Rain Gutters

There are many creative ways to use rain gutters in gardening. Some people use the gutters around deck railing to grow their plants. This may work beautifully, if your deck is on the sunny side of the house.

In case it isn’t you will need to get extra creative. You can put rain gutters on the sunny side of the house. Place them in rows around the siding of the house. This is where the plants are able to receive all the heat and sun, as well as protection from most pests.

This way of growing plants may seem unusual and it may not produce the most attractive visual image, but it’s a very effective way to grow your plants. You can grow many different plants this way, such as lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes and other vegetables.

How to Grow Plants

Here are the essential steps you need to make to install this sort of structure and grow plants:

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  • Buy nice looking plastic gutters. Don’t forget to also purchase all the required parts for mounting them in one long row. Remember, one row will get about 20 feet long.
  • Drill small holes in the bottom of the gutters. This will allow the excess water to be drained.
  • Fill the gutters with soil to be about half-full. Add some fertilizer and fill the rest of the gutter with soil. Pack the soil firmly because your plants won’t have a lot of soil to grow.
  • Plant the seeds. Don’t forget to water them regularly. Water only as much to keep the seeds wet but don’t go overboard. When you water the plants, make sure to only water the gutters and not the siding.
  • After a few weeks, you should see the seeds opening and growing into seedlings. Radishes should be ready in several weeks and the other vegetables a bit later.

This is a great way to have a fresh, tasty salad every day. Eating your homemade vegetables is a great reward, especially if done in such an unusual way. However, you don’t need to use rain gutters to grow vegetables only: there are many other plants suitable for this kind of containers.

If you have a success with this type of gardening, you can always add more rows of gutters under the initial row, to grow even more plants or to produce more vegetables.

Photo credit: Lori Greig via photopin cc