Gutter Gardens – A Great Way to Grow Lots of Stuff in a Very Small Space

by Fern on April 28, 2009

in General

Remember Shawn? The guy with the windy, part-sun, zone 5 balcony? Well, he recently emailed me about these gutter gardens he saw on Life Hacker (thanks Shawn!).


This strikes me as an awesome way to grow a ton of produce in a really small space. If you can’t drill into your walls, you could try hanging several from a chain and having it do double duty as a privacy barrier.

In the article, it says that the creator of these particular gutter gardens grows lettuce, green onions, radishes, chard, beets and turnips. In addition, I think you could also grow most types of greens, like spinach, arugala, etc. Also, bok choy, chives, mint, thyme, oregano, cilantro, parsley…

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen April 28, 2009 at 11:55 am

Hi Fern, what a simply great idea. If I had a sunny wall….. hmmm.

But I do have the other side of my brick fence, maybe I can come up with something interesting.

I will let you know.



Fern April 28, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Can’t wait to see what you come up with Jen!


CityGarden April 28, 2009 at 2:45 pm

OMG! this is a wonderful idea for small gardens


Betsy Bargain April 28, 2009 at 2:53 pm

What a wonderful idea! I wonder if I could attach those to the sides of my mobile home. I have a lot of stuff growing in containers, but I’d like to grow even more in the space I have.


Genevieve April 28, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I have such a hard time keeping up with watering tiny containers; it seems like gutters would dry out quickly.

Of course, you could drip irrigate them with inline emitters and mulch them. That’d fix that problem.

I also wouldn’t like the moisture right up against my siding – but putting them on a fence would work! Or hanging could work, too, as you cleverly suggested.

It sure would be easy to harvest!


Daffodil Planter April 28, 2009 at 8:12 pm

They are so cute! I’ll let someone else worry about the irrigation issues while I admire all those adorable lettuces lined up.


Mzmlee April 29, 2009 at 9:47 am

Have to agree about the faster drying out–do like the idea and the drip irrigation–curious about drainage and the stains down the siding if on the side of the house/garage, otherwise fences sound great if you have them.


lizlotz April 30, 2009 at 7:30 am

Love this idea! We need to replace our roof & gutters – this is a great reuse idea. I have a sunny spot on a fence – or on the side of the garage??


Mimi April 30, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Hi Fern,

At first I loved this idea, then started reading comments in the LifeHacker article about it. One concern is the possible lead content of the gutters.A serious concern – I’d get that tested and make sure the gutters are safe. The idea, though, is wonderful. It could be modified by hanging a support shelf from the siding and using containers known to be safe for food cultivation.


don July 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I know this post is several years old, but gutters are not made of lead but aluminum or pvc, so lead poisoning is impossible

cathy November 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Even though gutters are not made of lead but aluminum, heavy metal (especially lead) poisoning is possible as they could be contaminants or additives.

Jen May 1, 2009 at 11:31 am

Genius! Love the way this looks. This is the kind of stuff you can sometimes find on the curb at construction sites.


rochelle May 24, 2009 at 3:18 am

I am flipping through page after page of your blog here and loving every minute. Great site! Am def. adding you to my blogroll.


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