Happy Accidents

One of the most exciting aspects of being part of a start up is the culture. The culture that says, we can do anything. We are going to beg forgiveness instead of asking for permission. It’s a pioneering attitude and, well, it leads to a lot of mistakes. Perhaps “mistake” isn’t the right work. The connotation is too negative. They are more accidents. Happy accidents.

Click to Read the Latest at San Diego Business Journal

We’ll keep plowing ahead on our mission to create a friendly future. In the meantime, you can read all about our latest… accident… in the San Diego Business Journal.

Let us know what you think the comments and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Vertical Gardening Made Easy – More Small Garden Ideas

In our last post we discussed the value of vertical gardening in creating a balcony garden. Balcony gardens aren’t the only small garden ideas. We like the idea of taking old materials and re-purposing them for our gardening needs. After all, that’s exactly what we’re doing at Upcycle. Putting waste to work. The best small garden ideas are cheap. Watch the video below to learn how to recycle some basic household materials into a small garden space on the cheap.


Where to Start with Your Small Garden Ideas

Going up!

Growing vertically to optimize the space you have growing a productive garden in small spaces all this and more in today’s episode.

So our first step for today is how to utilize your garden space and grow vertically by growing vertically you make sure that you really optimize your growing space because you can grow a lot more fruits and vegetables and even herbs in a small space. What you’re seeing here is a growing rack which basically has multiple racks and a lot of space between the racks to allow sunlight to come in. You can buy this kind of a growing rack very easily; we bought ours from Costco for just $25 dollars.

We were also able to get growing racks very cheaply at Ikea. Best thing about Ikea is that everything seems ready to be stacked vertically which is a necessity for all small garden ideas. When you don’t have a ton of lateral space, you’ve got to go up. Plus you’ll be closer to the Sun. Just kidding.

pole beans are a great small garden ideas
Photo by grabadonut

What to Grow In

Once you have your baking / growing racks in place, now you’re going to need something to actually grow in. The video shows them using baking trays which work great. Get one that is fairly deep so that enough soil can fit inside. About the size for a solid Thanksgiving turkey is my favorite to grow in. In our tests we’ve been able to grow various beans, lettuces and even some small root vegetables in modular baking trays.

You will need to punch holes in the bottom to drain excess water. Depending on how thick your tray is, you may need a drill, but with ours, it was thin enough to punch through with a pencil. Your mileage may vary, but the thinner aluminium trays I find are easier to deal with because they never rust.

Now, simple as that, you’ve got a modular system for growing vegetables in a confined space.

What are some of your favorite small garden ideas? We’re all ears. Sign up below to find out more about Native Soil and how it can supercharge your tiny garden.

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As found on Youtube

Vertical Gardening – Simple Ideas for a Balcony Garden

Grow a Ton of Food in a Tiny Space with a Balcony Garden

At Upcycle we really enjoy growing food with Native Soil. One of the concerns we hear most often is that many people don’t have enough space for a big home garden. It is a problem especially among the young, or those living in cities where tiny apartments and condos are the norm. That’s where the concept of balcony gardens, or vertical gardening comes in handy. With a balcony garden anyone can take a tiny amount of space and create huge amounts of food.

All it takes is a little planning to know what to build, what to buy and what plants to grow to make the most out of your balcony garden. The video below does a great job illustrating some easy tips to grow more in a balcony garden.


When space is at a premium and you’ve got nowhere left to grow there’s only one solution – reach for the skies! Given the combination of the right crops, vertical supports, and wall-hugging planters you can pack a lot more into the space you have available. In this video we look at how to plan a vertical vegetable garden so you can get the most from your plot. Climbing plants offer a logical way to begin growing skywards. Suitable vegetables include pole (or climbing) beans, climbing peas, sweet potatoes, vining tomatoes plus sprawling types of zucchini, cucumber, melon and squash that can be trained up supports. Allow plants to find their own way up supports or tie them in at intervals to encourage them upwards.

Many structures can offer support for skyward plants. From simple rows of bamboo canes to more complex or decorative structures. Arbors and arches look complete with climbers such as passionfruit or a grapevine, or how about climbing squashes or beans with colored pods or fruits. The pods or fruits will then dangle down to create a feature that’s both delicious and attractive.

Upcycle Old Furniture to Create Growing Lanes

Wicker or bamboo wigwams offer a space-saving and arguably more attractive alternative to the usual rows of canes, while obelisks and pergolas present decorative solutions to growing upwards. Our Garden Planner features many support options that can be selected and dropped into your garden plan. Many tree fruits can be trained into a vertical plane, either against a wall or fence, or along freestanding wire supports. Apples, pears and cherries are just a few examples.

These trees may be trained to produce single-stem cordons, fan shapes, parallel-branched espaliers, or other fence-hugging forms. Use sturdy horizontal wires strained between fence posts to create the necessary supports for wall-trained fruit. Cane fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries, naturally grow tall. Left unsupported, the canes have a habit of flopping over to smother neighboring crops. Parallel wires secured between upright posts will keep them in line. Our Garden Planner has a range of space-efficient plants to choose from – for example, this apple cordon. The Planner also helps you to select and place supporting structures. Take these pole beans for example – they need some bamboo canes to climb up.

Use Many Little Niches to Maximize Growth

Reusing materials from home reduce the cost of your balcony garden
Photo by girlingearstudio

Make you garden work harder for you by including any number of wall-mounted or stepped planters, planting pockets, tower planters and hanging baskets. Fill them with herbs, salads and strawberries, then watch a blank space take on a whole new life. The Garden Planner has lots of ideas for suitable containers. Simply click the Information button for a description of each and its suitability for your garden. Recycled food tins make great wall mounted planters.

Old pallets are widely available, and turning them into vertical planters is a great way to reuse them. Check they are safe for re-use by looking for the pallet stamp. It will have stamps displaying the IPPC logo and/or the letters EPAL, plus HT or DB. Hammer or hang your recycled containers into position before filling with potting soil.

Don’t Forget to Water, or Better, Automate!

Wall-mounted planters are likely to require regular watering because of the rain shadow cast by the wall. Micro or drip irrigation systems deliver water efficiently. Automate water delivery by coupling irrigation with a cheap timer. Walls or fences must be strong enough to hold the considerable weight of damp potting soil. In most climates you will also want to make the most of sunshine but picking a surface that faces the mid-day or afternoon sun. Reflected heat from the day speeds growth time and shortens harvest time. It’s the right combination of vertical- growing crops, supports, and the correct containers that will help you to get the most from a small space.

Of course, there are plenty of other ideas out there for vertical vegetable gardens. If you’ve got one, don’t keep it to yourself – share it by dropping us a comment below. And with seed sowing beginning in earnest, now is the ideal time to subscribe to enjoy more great gardening videos.

As found on Youtube