Garden Design

How to Make a DIY Tower Garden for Vegetables and Herbs

Save some money by learning how to make a DIY tower garden using just about anything you can find around the house. Yes, even that!

If you’re like me you’ve exhausted all of your outdoor garden space with fruits, veggies, and herbs and are always looking for a way to maximize garden space. Or maybe you rent your home or apartment and only have a small footprint to work with. In either case, growing vegetables vertically is an excellent strategy. You may opt for a store-bought tower garden, but there are also plenty of ways to craft a DIY tower garden.

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Using recycled materials in the garden is a secret thrill of mine. I love repurposing objects like wooden pallets or coming up with ways to reuse single-use plastic bottles. When deciding to build a DIY tower garden, I highly recommend taking a walk around your house, yard, and basement to assess what materials you already have. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when building your tower garden. Here are some unique examples of how to build a DIY tower garden.

Repurpose a step ladder

If you have an old step ladder taking up space in your garage or basement, consider transforming it into a DIY tower garden. With nothing more than a few extra planks of wood, you can be setting up your vertical garden in no time. If you plan to use the ladder outdoors, you may want to treat the wood with a weather sealant to protect it from the elements. Add a bit more stability by nailing or screwing the wooden boards into place. Or let them float in place for a more temporary solution. It probably goes without saying but keep heavier containers toward the bottom of the ladder tower and smaller containers up top. If your ladder is a bit wobbly, you can use stones, bricks, or cinder blocks to weigh down the bottom by attaching them to the base of the ladder.

Reuse single-use plastic bottles

Do you have a bit of fencing or an old trellis in your yard? You can make a DIY garden tower by attaching different-sized plastic bottles. The key is to use the bottles in a horizontal configuration. Carefully notch out a rectangle along one side of each bottle and poke drainage holes on the opposite side. Attach bottles to your fencing or trellis using wire ties, or hooks, and plant your vegetables. This is an ideal set-up for starting seedlings since bottles are relatively shallow. This is also a great method to use for growing micro-greens and can easily be configured for indoor or outdoor use.

Build a DIY garden tower using gutter materials. Attach a length of gutter to a fence, or posts being sure to include end caps. Add drainage holes to the bottom of the gutter and stack multiple runs of gutters, and be sure to leave enough space for your plants to grow. Like the bottle method, the gutter is ideal for shallow-rooted veggies like leafy greens, seedlings, and herbs.

Stakes and wire and string, oh my!

If climbing vegetables are a mainstay in your garden, consider making a DIY garden tower out of garden stakes and wire. Using a large base container, add wooden or plastic garden stakes to your potting mix. Weave wire or string back and forth between the stakes, creating a grid-like pattern. As your climbing vegetables grow (tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc), they will attach themselves to your grid and form a tower of vegetables.


Attach containers to a post

Probably the easiest way to make a DIY garden tower is to simply affix flower pots and other garden containers to a post. This can be a fence post or a stand-alone post. Wood is likely the easiest material to choose since you’ll be able to screw and nail plastic containers directly to it. There are also specialized brackets you can purchase that can hold terracotta or other stone pots. Use pressure-treated lumber if you intend to use a wooden post since it will help prevent the wood from rotting. Get creative with how you attach your containers. You may even take advantage of hanging baskets to add even more planters to your DIY tower garden.

Wildcard objects

Nearly anything can be turned into a DIY tower garden with a little creativity. Scour your basement, attic, and garage for furniture pieces and other vertically shaped objects. Focus on shapes. In the example above, a small utility cart is repurposed into a tower garden. Materials like milk crates, wheelbarrows, and even an old mailbox can be transformed into a one-of-a-kind tower garden.

Have you made a DIY tower garden? What materials did you use? Let me know in the comments!

Discover 7 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying tomatoes from your home garden—when you access the FREE guide The Best Way to Grow Tomatoes, right now!

By Amanda MacArthur

Amanda MacArthur is Senior Editor & Producer for Food Gardening Network and GreenPrints. She is responsible for generating all daily content and managing distribution across web, email, and social. In her producer role, she plans, edits, and deploys all video content for guides, magazine issues, and daily tips. As a best-selling cookbook author, Amanda cooks using ingredients from her outdoor gardens in the summer and from her indoor hydroponic garden in the winter.

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