Minigarden in Action: Kim M.’s Vertical Garden

Kim McInnis Minigarden Kitchen InstallationWhat better way to make use of the dead space on the back of a door than by turning it into a vertical garden? Kim M. of Rockwood, Ontario, did exactly that – she turned a plain door in her apartment into a living greenwall using our Minigarden Kitchen module!

Kim loves her Minigarden vertical garden. “I think it’s like a white sculpture that holds a living art installation. I get a great deal of pleasure and peace from the look of the final installation. It has been a great alternative form of art in my apartment. A living sculpture. Everyone who has seen it loves it.”

The Space

Kim chose the white Minigarden Kitchen because it complements the white tones in her small Rockwood apartment. Her once-plain hollow door is visible from her dining and living room, which makes it the perfect canvas for a living work of art!

Supplies

For mounting and planting her Minigarden, Kim used:

  • IKEA EKBY STODIS white brackets. These brackets are slightly wider than the Minigarden unit, but you can easily saw the extra inch off. Alternatively, Minigarden Wall Supports or any 5” bracket found at your local hardware store will work without requiring alterations or cutting.
  • Hollow Door AnchorHollow door anchors. Kim’s door is 1.5 inches deep, so she used door anchors that were approximately 1.25 inches long.
  • 1¾ inch screws. Make sure your screws are the right diameter to fit through the Minigarden spacers and into the door anchor, and that they are long enough to extend through the spacer (which is 0.5 inches deep) and well into the anchor. Any length works as long as it doesn’t go through the other side of your door. Kim recommends bringing the spacer with you to the hardware store.
  • Light, well-draining potting mix. 
  • Sunblaster BulbsGrow lights (Optional). Kim used three Sun Blaster 26W CFL 6400K grow lights. They fit directly into a standard light socket.

How She Did It

The first thing Kim did was prepare her Minigarden modules by filling them with clay pellets and a good quality lightweight potting mix.

Potting Mix

Then, Kim installed the bottom shelf brackets using hollow door anchors attached to her door. Kim notes that it’s “important to make sure they are level”. After installing the bottom two brackets, Kim planted the bottom Minigarden module and placed it on the brackets. The bottom row of her Minigarden is not screwed into these brackets – it simply sits on top.

Mounting BracketsShe then installed the round spacers (and irrigation tubes, if desired), as described in the Minigarden installation instructions. After this, Kim planted the next row of Minigarden modules and rested it on top of the spacers. “It’s really easy to build,” says Kim. “They attach together very easily and securely […] I love the easy click-in assembly of the Minigarden”.

Every third row of Minigarden modules, Kim marked where the back spacer would sit against the door and installed another hollow door anchor. She then screwed through the back spacer into the anchor.

“The finished vertical garden has some weight to it, but as you anchor the vertical garden (when building up), the spacers and screws hold the weight of the three rows above, and so the full weight is not on the bottom brackets or any pair of anchors. It is really solid and the door can be opened and closed no problem!”

The Plants

Kim initially planted herbs, but discovered that the location of her Minigarden didn’t provide enough direct sunlight for them to thrive. She replaced her herbs with easy care ferns, such as ivy and pothos, and they’re doing great!

Kim McInnis Ferns
Kim recommends researching what to plant and choosing plants that will do well in your location’s lighting. Kim has also started to notice small black flies on her plants, and recommends Minigarden Bug-Off Red Pest Prevention to help take care of any pests.

The Lights

To keep her vertical garden thriving year round, Kim also installed three Sun Blaster 26W CFL 6400K grow lights. Because installing new lighting wasn’t an option for Kim, she “wanted something to fit into [her] standard 3-bulb kitchen light fixture”. The bulbs she chose fit into a standard bulb socket, and they’re also cost effective at approximately $15 each. Kim leaves them on all day and hasn’t noticed a major change in her hydro bill!

To find out which grow light system is best for your greenwall, speak to a professional.

A Living Sculpture

Kim’s installation proves that you can grow your own garden in a small space, even without a balcony or terrace! Kim didn’t even have a free wall – she used the often-ignored dead space on the back of a door and turned it into a living masterpiece she can enjoy year-round.

Way to go, Kim!


Susan Austin is Sales Director for Minigarden North America. She can be reached at susan@minigardening.com.