Vertical Gardens for $1

At Upcycle and Company, you know how adamant we are about saving money when we garden. We like saving money almost as we like saving space. That’s why I was so excited to stumble upon John Kohler’s post at Growing Your Greens when he went to the 99 Cent Only Store to find himself the materials for a cheap vertical garden. Now, this wasn’t a 99 cents and up, this was a 99 Cent Only store. It’s amazing how much technology is floating around the gardening world right now, but when it comes right down to it, sometimes the simplest idea is also the cheapest idea. That’s something we can get behind.

After all, being pound for pound cheaper than our competitors is something we pride ourselves on. Let’s listen to John for a bit and get ready to #FindYourSoilMate.


This is John Kohler with I have another exciting episode for you today. I’m outside the 99 only stores, and the 99 only stores are a chain of stores that sell things like it’s like a dollar store basically, and I’m here today to show you guys any products that may help you grow more food at home. Now, while I’m not into a lot of the products that they sell here, they do have some good deals. In the past, I’ve gotten plant clips and seeds and even air pumps for aquariums for $1.

You never, never,  know what I’m going to find and every day they always have new stuff. I’m excited to show you guys if there’s anything I the 99 store, or the dollar store, that’ll help you grow more food at home. So, we’re here in the dollar store and we’re inside and there’s literally thousands of items and a lot of them you probably just don’t need.

Cheap Garden Starts

They don’t add any value to your life, but there are a few things here that will allow you to grow more food, and those are the things that I’m here to show you guys today. First off, of course, they have bulbs, a lot of bulbs. Most of these are not edible, but I want to show you guys a couple that are.

You got 12 Dutch onions, that’s 99 cents, defiantly a good deal. Also, they got the red baron Dutch onions. So, these bulbs you could plant not and definitely good to have some onions. So, $1 could grow you 12 onions.

In addition, they got some good deals on some seeds. The seed packet has been picked through a lot. The seeds here are not 99 cents, they’re cents. So, that’s actually 30 cents only, but 20 cents will buy you a packet of squash or cucumber or lettuce or carrots or radishes, even actually the best deal here is this corn here. This was marked at 1.99, 29 cents for a pack of corn seeds. So, next, I’m going to show you guys some planters that are actually stacking planters that they have here at the dollar store.

Cheaper Still?

Now, these are the same, or at least very similar to the ones you just saw. Here they are right here. This is one kind. Once again, cents. These are the stacking planters. You can see this one’s 99 cents. There are no holes in this, so, you know, you’re going to have to pop some holes in it yourself, but, check this out, these are made to stack up very nicely, and they have 2 designs. They have this design and they have these guys over here. This is the circular design. They probably hold very similar amounts of soil. Check it out. For $10 you could get a setup like this. This setup is 10 high and this will grow you 30 plants.

Inexpensive plastic garden pots make excellent cheap vertical gardens
Photo by john bonham2

So, you know, definitely a good deal. $10, 30 plants, because of the 99 only store. Now, once again, these are plastic. These are made in Israel, so they may be fairly high quality but they don’t have any holes in them and if you’re going to grow something this tall it can get kind of wobbly, so you may want to drill the holes out in the middle, right through here, and put like a nice tubing through there, like EMT tubing, something like that, to stabilize it and also of course run an irrigation system and make sure you pop those holes in it.

Cheap Vertical Gardens

Now, I’m not a huge fan of plastic, but if plastic planters are going to allow you to grow more food, I’m all for it. So, next I’m going to show you guys planters that I do like, actually, that they have here at 99 only store. They got your standard clay pots. Now, these are nice clay pots. This one pot would be good for like one head of lettuce or some herbs. Actually, it’s really good to grow mint, something like this, grow your mint in here and then plant this underneath the ground so that the mint can’t spread out. So, that’s actually a nice tip, but 99 cents, a nice clay pot, definitely a good deal as well. Besides the pot, they also have potting soil for 99 cents. Now, I don’t recommend the potting soil here. You get hardly anything. This is so light, this is not a good deal, although they make it out to be.

Is it a Good Deal?

So, not everything at the 99 only store is a good deal. Go to a big box store and get some organic potting soil or organic compost instead, but another good item at the 99 only store is this guy right here. You can see it’s only, but it’s these guys. It’s a foldable plant support. You can see here, looks like a standard tomato cage.

They’re showing tomatoes here, but I wouldn’t recommend this for tomatoes. These guys just kind of pop up like this and then there are 3 bars that hold this stable so it collapses for easy storage when you’re done with the season, and, you know, for 99 cents, definitely a good deal, but I would probably only use these and not tomatoes because you know what? This is not even that tall, maybe like 2 feet tall if that.

How to Build Cheap Vertical Gardens

Last thing I want to show you guys here and the 99 cents store that can help you grow more food, especially if you’re growing vertically in cheap vertical gardens, you need to tie so that you can get your plants off the ground so that they can grow vertically ’cause you may have more airspace than you do land if you live in a residential area. These guys right here. This is the first time I’ve seen these at the 99 store. These are clips, and these allow you to basically reuse these clips to pin up your tomatoes and all different kinds, peas and plants to bamboo stakes. It’s 99 cents for 16 reusable, that’s the thing, reusable plant clips. Great deal, and these guys, on the back, are marked 2.95. So, that’s 1/3 off here, and I know that these are definitely a good deal. In addition, they just got your standard flexible plant tape.

The 99 Cent Store can be a treasure for cheap vertical gardens
Photo by KTDrasky

Finding the Deal

This stuff might cot 2-3 bucks at a nursery, just 99 cents here, but once again, I’d encourage you guy to get the reusable plant ties instead because you can use this year after year whereas if you just tear this off and tie things, usually that takes more time plus you usually got to throw this stuff away. They also have some tools down here, and a lot of these tools, you know, you guys get what you pay for.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend them. Some of them are nicer, something like this, you know, for $1, a little hand trough or shovel thing, oops, that breaks. I probably wouldn’t recommend some of the stuff that I showed you guys. They also have some irrigation things, like plastic sprinklers and whatnot. Now, once again, you guys get what you pay for and I’d probably recommend you spending a little bit more and getting a lot higher quality items, Hopefully you guys enjoyed this episode, learning more about some of these items at the 99 cent only store that’ll help you grow more food at home.

Once again, my name is John Kohler with We’ll see you next time and keep on growing…

As found on Youtube

Find Your Soil Mate

Growing Herbs : How to Design a Balcony Herb Garden

WA balcony herb garden is a great, fun, way to get started growing your own healthy food at home. Now, we’ve gone over the basics of balcony herb gardens before, when we touched on how to grow vertically in small spaces to maximize your output, but now we’re going to talk a bit about actually designing what goes in your balcony herb garden.

What Do You Eat?

The first step in any good garden is to know what that goes in is going to be eaten when it comes out. If you’re growing a whole bunch of plants, or herbs in this case, that you’re not going to eat, then it’s just a huge waste. Think about the spices cabinet you currently have in your apartment. If you’re anything like I was, you’ve been hauling around a ton of spices, inheriting other people’s spices and herbs along the way until you’ve got a cabinet full of turmeric and jerked spice that you’ve never opened. Not that there is anything wrong with turmeric or jerked spice, but I don’t eat a ton of food that uses those.

A well planned balcony herb garden can replace your cluttered spice rack
Photo by TinyTall

Similarly, if you’re starting this garden project as part of a New Year’s resolution to eat completely different than you have in the past, then you might want to consider if you’re biting off more than you can chew at once. If you’re moving from greasy fast food every meal of every day to complete home cooking, adding in the growing project might be a bit ambitious.

Start with Some Basics for Your Balcony Herb Garden

Try and grow some herbs that show up across a range of recipes. For instance, I love rosemary. It goes with chicken dishes, steaks and is great in scrambled eggs. Plus, it is extremely easy to grow. There’s really very few dishes where a bit of rosemary won’t brighten up. I also like to make a number of Italian sauces because they’re easy and I get to use the tomatoes from my backyard. So, in my home balcony herb garden I grow oregano, basil and parsley. While those were all designed for sauces, they’ve also found their way into many other dishes I make.

These are just the basics of what I do, but you can experiment with your herb planning based on your own menu planning.

Size Matters

The size of the plant you’re growing is a critical planning step for your balcony herb garden. Some herbs, like rosemary, can grow into huge bushes that take over the whole tiny space. Others like basil are more of a tall leafy plant that tends to be a bit more delicate. Below is a video from that helps walk through what Yolanda did when planning her herb garden.

Hi, this is Yolanda, from In this segment, we’re going to learn about how to design an herb garden, so your garden is part of your own personality, so I love planting plants in my garden, that I use in the kitchen, and so the first thing that you should do, when you design your garden or your herb garden, is deciding what herbs you want to grow, and an easy way to decide, is to just look in your cabinets, and so I always look and see which herbs do you really use? And then those are the ones that you should grow, because if you’re growing a lot of herbs that you’re not using, then it’s kind of silly, and it might be a waste of space, so make sure first, to figure out what kinds of plants you want to grow.

Plan to Your Pallet

rosemary is a common for a balcony herb gardenI love rosemary, and I love my Cajun spice, and it’s got thyme in it, so I think I can try to make my own too. It’s just cayenne pepper and thyme, and a few other seasonings, so I can try to make it on my own. There’s dill seed, basil leaves, parsley, oregano, so I know I want to put those plants in my garden. A few of my other favorites are basil. I love them in all my pestos, and with a tomato, and some cheese on it. Thyme of course, we talked about that, and spearmint. Spearmint is such a nice plant in the garden, because you can just take a little piece and put it in your mouth, and it’s just like chewing gum almost. It makes you feel fresh. It’s a nice scent, and a little bit with some lemonade, is really nice. First thing when you’re designing your garden, decide which plants you use everyday. Then which plants you use in your kitchen. Once you’ve decided that, then you need to find a place to plant it.

Small Herb Garden Spaces

Whether it’s just the window sill inside the house, or a nice sunny location, outside of the house, they will grow almost anywhere. You can plant them on a deck. You can plant them on a patio. Just remember, you need at least a half a day of sun, because herbs really like a lot of sun. Now, you can plant them in containers, or you can put them in nice raised beds, too. You can plant them almost anywhere, so even if you have an area of your garden that you’re not using, just throw some compost on top of it, and plant a few herbs, and you’ve got a nice herb garden. Now, once you’ve decided that you do want an herb garden, and which plants you want in it,and where you’re going to put it, then you need to figure out what kind of layout. When you’re deciding where to plant them, always decide based on the height and the size of the plants.

Bigger Herbs, Bigger Return

Let me show you, so the larger herbs that grow bigger, you should put to the back of the bed. Or at least the middle. This is rosemary, and it can grow kind of big and more into a bush. Another plant that you’ve got to almost be careful with, is the mint, because mints kind of take over. Because they really do multiply quickly, and they’ll push the other plants out, if you let them. So when you plant them, keep them either contained in a container in the bed, or plant them on the edges where they’re not really going to take over. You can control them a little bit more, so oregano is a great plant too, and it stays a little bit smaller, making it great for a balcony herb garden. So make sure and put that towards the sides of the beds, so that they don’t get kind of covered up by the other types, and tarragon is a great plant.

Stack Your Herbs for Maximum Sun

Tarragon gets a bit bushier, not quite as big as my rosemary. So it will be more of a plant that I put in front of my rosemary, but before my mint. Or before my cilantro even, that gets a little bit shorter. Thyme too is a beautiful plant, that makes almost a ground cover. It never gets really big, so it’s a great plant to put on the edges. When you’re designing an herb garden, you can keep it very formal, or keep them very separated, or you can throw them in all together. It’s up to you, so go out and start your own herb garden, and enjoy the benefits.

To sum up, it is all delicious fun. What are you growing in your herb garden? Share with us on Facebook. If you want more gardening tips in your inbox, sign up below and be on the look out for special offers on Native Soil!

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How to Grow Garden Superfoods

Let’s be honest. Superfoods are amazing when it comes to nutrient content, complete proteins, and what they can potentially do for your health. As amazing as superfoods are, they’re incredibly expensive. Just walk down the aisles of any Whole Foods or other health conscious grocery store, and you’ll walk away with a bit of sticker shock. Luckily, it turns out that garden superfoods are pretty easy to grow in your own home. Skip the high prices and learn to grow your own superfood at home.

Plan Your Garden Superfoods Accordingly

Not every superfood is created equally. Blueberries have different soil nutrient requirements than quinoa for instance. While you can probably get away with putting everything in the same bed, we recommend utilizing some of the balcony garden ideas we’ve laid out here to create micro beds that can target specific nutrient needs. Even if you have all the space in the world, sometimes keeping your grow on the small side has extra benefits.

But why go all out right away? Start with the easiest garden superfoods first and work your way up!


Start With Kale

Just start with Kale. It’s one of the easiest to grow, is very hearty in almost all weather conditions and is among the most robust of all vegetable superfoods. Add to the fact that Kale, especially heirloom varieties, is very attractive looking, there’s reason to grow it even if you don’t like the flavor. Do yourself a favor and get some recipes that mask the flavor.

Kale grows quickly, especially in spring and fall. Baby kale leaves can be ready in as little as three weeks. Mature leaves are ready for the largest salads in six to eight weeks. In more temparate climates kale can be grown year round, but even in frosty climates, kale can often be harvested well into the winter months.

Move to Oregano

oregano is one of the easiest garden superfoods to growWho doesn’t love oregano? As an herb, oregano is essentially a weed and grows like one meaning is near impossible to kill without serious, targeted effort. Oregano grows into a tall, wide bush that comes back each and every year, so it’s what’s known as a “garden anchor.” If you want to keep your garden on the small side, oregano, along with most herbs, will grow to accommodate their environment. Plant them in individual containers to keep them small, or in larger pots to have a big bushy oregano plant.

Moreover, oregano is a staple of basically all food Mediterranean. Italian sauces, roasted peppers, hummus and pita are all made more robust with oregano. Oregano also has the benefit of being extremely high in antioxidants.

Most of the rules for oregano apply to other herbs as well. Growing a small herb garden is a great way to get your feet wet in growing garden superfoods.

As found on Youtube

Basic Steps For Growing Your Home Garden

Many people think gardening is hard to accomplish, but that is not true if you know what you are doing. Using some basic advice, most people can be great gardeners. When you have completed this article, you will have learned everything you need to know to show off your green thumb.

Choosing Your Home Garden Plants

Cover fences and walls with climbing plants. Known commonly as climbers, these plants are very versatile, easy to grow, and they will quickly spread out to cover up walls and fences within a single season. You may also be interested in training them over an arbor or trellis. You can also grow them among existing landscape trees and plants. Some climbers will attach themselves to a support using twining stems or tendrils, while other varieties need to be held up by tying them in place. Some climbers that have proven to be reliable are honeysuckle, jasmine, wisteria, clematis, and climbing roses.

Night Blooming Jasmine adds a great aroma to your basic home garden
Photo by Starr Environmental

Plants need ample amounts of CO2 to reach their maximum growth. The majority of plants grow much better when CO2 levels are at their highest. A greenhouse has the best levels available. CO2 levels are best kept high, in order to provide optimal growing conditions for your plants. Additional soil chemistry is needed to balance out and provide the plants optimal paths for nutrient absorption. Not all basic home garden soil is created equally. San Diego is full of decomposed granite on the mesas which isn’t very nutrient dense. Native Soil is an ideal solution for normalizing poor soil chemistry.

Watch Out for Pests of all Kinds

When gardening, be watchful of stink bugs, particularly in the fall. Stink bugs enjoy gardens, and are especially fond of fruit, tomatoes, beans and peppers. If left unattended, your garden could be ravaged by these bugs, so you need to proactively keep their population under control.

There are several all-natural ways to keep pests out of your garden, including certain plants. Plant marigolds or onions around other vegetables to keep slugs away from them. Wood ash also makes a great insect deterrent; simply use it as mulch around your shrub and tree seedlings. By utilizing these methods, you will not have to apply chemical pesticides on your vegetation.

Be Aware of the Basic Home Garden Calendar

Plant some bulbs in your garden to have flowers and plants that bloom all year round. Bulbs are hearty and will continue to grow every year. Remember that different bulbs will bloom at all different times of the year, so if you are careful to choose the right bulbs, you will see blooms in the early spring, and have flowers all the way to late summer.

Irises are a great addition to any basic home garden
Photo by tr.robinson

Separate irises for the best result. If you divide the overgrown clumps of flowers, you’ll find that your stock grows proportionally. Once the foliage has died off, lift out your bulbous irises. They will literally split in your hand, flowering the next year after replanting. Utilize a knife if you are trying to divide rhizomes. Cut the new pieces from its outside and dispose of the older center. Each piece you decide to plant needs a strong offshoot. The quicker you can replant your cuttings, the better chances they will reappear next season.

As mentioned earlier, it is not difficult to become an expert gardener if you educate yourself. If you apply the tips from this article you’ll be able to be confident in knowing that you’ve got all the information you need to guarantee your garden will grow!

What are you going to put in your garden? Let us know in the comments or our Facebook Page!