Column Garden Tutorial

Garden ColumnI found the idea for this on Pinterest (as a tutorial for a decorative “flower tower”) and instantly recognized its application in vertical gardening. In the foggy memories from my childhood, I believe I remember seeing garden similar garden structures created out of hay. I have ideas for cycling “compost towers” into “garden towers” and back again or creating hollow cores from which nutrients and water could be dripped. For now, I’ve started with the simple simple version.


1 roll of fencing

1 roll of weed mat



Tools: Wire cutters, string, Scissors

wpid-20140528_145432.jpgThe fencing that I used is 48″ wide, comes in a 50ft roll, and is 2″x3″ wire mesh. I don’t know much about fencing (another thing for the list) I just went to the hardware store and eyeballed fencing that had gaps that looked about right and was about the right height. You want holes big enough to put plants in, but if you go with a tighter mesh you can always cut larger openings with wire cutters.

The  I used is inexpensive, a bit stretchy but very durable. It was on sale.
Decide how big around you want your columns. Figure out how many squares of fencing that works out to. (36″ was right for my garden, probably a slightly thicker column would be more ideal in general, that means 18 2″ squares.) If you are going to be making more than one column, I would write this down somewhere.

wpid-20140528_145530.jpgUsing wire cutters, carefully cut off that amount from the roll of fencing. Cut the ends in such a way as to have a fairly long wire hanging off one side.

The fencing will pretty naturally form into a circle. Line up the squares so that the two ends overlap by one square. Wrap the long ends of the wires up and around to secure them together. Now you’ve got the wire structure for your column!

wpid-20140528_142710.jpgCut off weed mat a few inches longer than your column. It will depend on the dimensions of your column and the width of your weed mat exactly how you will make this fit. I lucked out and my weed mat was just wide enough to fit perfectly around my wire column with a bit of overlap. The idea is to line the inside of the fencing with the weed mat so that there are no gaps or leaks.  I used a bit of twine that i had around and some scissors to secure the weed mat both at the seam and to the fencing.

wpid-20140528_142906.jpgOnce you’ve got the basic structure together, place the column where you want it in your garden. Make sure to start with ground that is as level as possible. Your column can be secured to a fence or staked down for stability. I have not done this with mine yet, but have plans to do so in the future. Once the dirt is in and watered, the column gets pretty heavy and stable regardless as long as the fencing holds up.


wpid-20140528_142925.jpgFill it to the top with dirt.



wpid-20140528_143511.jpgSoak the dirt with the hose, it will pack down noticeably. Fill in more dirt at the top if necessary.

Make any adjustments to the column (straightening, enlarging holes in the fencing, etc).


wpid-20140528_143025.jpgTo plant, cut the weed mat carefully and make small pockets for the plants to sit in. You can reach your hand or a tool into a dirt to make a space large enough for the root ball of your plant to fit deeply into the column, or plant seeds directly into these pockets. Gently tap around the area and dirt will fall into place filling any spaces. Continue until you have planted the entire column, including a plant at the top.

wpid-20140528_143054.jpgWater well to settle everything into place.



There will be plenty of materials for several columns.



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