After a bitter cold week here in North Central Pennsylvania things finally started to warm up yesterday. I think it’s almost time to start picking up some plants! In fact, my Mom and I have a little trip planned to visit this amazing greenhouse tomorrow. So excited!
Yesterday I made a little more progress on my Outdoor Shelves. I hinted that this was going to be happening in my last post and a few of you easily picked up on my plans.
I now am officially the owner and creator of my first vertical garden! Ta da!
Now, I know what you are thinking, “Michael, you’re going to need a few more hens and chicks because that just looks like framed dirt.’
I do realized I need a lot more hens and chicks, but I picked up this little bunch at my brother’s house yesterday and just couldn’t wait to get started. I have a few leads on some more, so this sucker will be full in no time, plus I want to leave a little room for things to grow.
Here is how this whole thing came together. (I made the framework last week, if you missed that you can see how I did that here.)
The first step to making my framed hens and chicks was to cut a back for my frame. I traced my frame onto an old piece of paneling I had on hand, then cut it out using a circular saw. After that I sanded down any rough edges.
I picked up some hardware cloth (wire screen) at the local hardware store. Using my newly cut back as guide I cut out the cloth it leaving a little extra on each side as I will be stapling this to my frame.
I trimmed off the excess on each corner to to give me a nice clean edge when inserting it into the frame.
I folded the hardware cloth to neatly fit into my frame and then slide it into place. Using a staple gun, I secured it to the frame.
Once all the staples were in and the screen was secure, I was ready for dirt.
I did purchase one new bag of soil designed for succulents and cactus as the first layer.
I filled in the rest with soil I had from an old flower pot. I packed the soil in as much as I could to make sure it would stay in place.
Once the frame was well packed with dirt and any excess was removed from the frame. I applied the back with wood screws.
When I flipped the frame over I honestly expected lots of dirt to fall out, but was pleasantly surprised to see that mostly all of it stayed inside the frame.
Next up, planting! I was going to go with a mix of succulents for this frame, but ultimately decided to stick with just hens and chicks as they can stay outside all winter.
I dug these guys out of my brother’s driveway. Some of them already have little baby chicks growing out of them! Too cute.
To plant, I used a wooden skewer. I first inserted it through the grid and then wiggled it around to form a hole. Then, I placed the roots of the plant in the hole. If the roots were large I used the skewer to force them down.
Once the plant was in place, I inserted the skewer into the holes around it to fill the dirt back in.
The process was a little tedious, but I love planting, so I enjoyed every minute of it!
After that, I was done (for now), and back to the wall the shelf framed hens and chicks went.
Its been hanging for about 24 hours now and everything is still in place. Success!
I also temporarily added a couple other succulents to the little pots on the shelves (I bought these before I made the decision to stick with just hens and chicks). They most likely won’t stay there, but I’m desperate for a little more green!
Over the next week or two I finish up the styling of these little shelves and share the completed look with you then.
I’m also hoping to dig up a few more hens and chicks too, unless these guys plan on multiplying over night.
So, what do you think of my new vertical garden?