Vertical gardening - sounds interesting, but what is it? A vertical garden is one that grows upwards using a support system rather than on the ground like a traditional garden. This system is not only beneficial in reducing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen but is more useful in urban and indoor settings due to its space saving nature.
Urban gardening efforts including vertical gardens are a great way to introduce green spaces to otherwise industrial or built-up areas. Both interior and exterior vertical gardens improve air quality by acting as a natural filtration system. Exterior gardens are great for cooling, protection from UV radiation, and even insulating. Plants are especially effective in cooling due to a natural process called transpiration. This occurs when excess water evaporates from a plant through its leaves, taking heat with it.
As such, installing more vertical gardens can aid in counteracting the heat island effect. The term 'heat island' was coined to define urban areas that are becoming warmer than neighboring suburban and rural spaces. According to the EPA, the mean annual air temperature of a city with more than one million people can be anywhere from 1.8-5.4°F hotter than the surrounding area. This is due to the higher energy demand and more concentrated emission of greenhouse gases common in more populated places. Planting vertical gardens throughout a city is a great way to begin to remedy this, ultimately leading to a decrease in air conditioning costs, carbon emissions associated with heating and cooling, and heat-related illnesses.
Different needs can also be addressed based on the types of plants you choose to install. Water waste can be controlled by using plants with extensive root systems. Growing certain herbs and flowers with immune boosting effects would be beneficial for making at-home remedies. Fruits and vegetables can also be planted in a vertical garden for those looking to grow their own food.
If you’re looking for a creative yet environmentally conscious project and want to tap into your green thumb, a vertical garden is the perfect place to start.