Teaching kids to cultivate plants is such a growing thing. School gardens are turning up everywhere as adults realize that for today’s kids, getting outside, getting dirty and learning about photosynthesis provides food for thought and the belly.
And so it was that we noticed an old story in our latest Sierra magazine, which tells about a space-saving, vertical growing method that can help make school gardens more successful. It involves creating a “wooly wall” of plants.
Here’s the website for the Woolly Pocket project, which provides planters and ideas for teachers, students or anyone else who wants to plant on a wall.
These ‘wooly pockets’ are convenient containers made of recycled PET plastic from water bottles that are suitable for growing greenery, flowers or edibles. The material is breathable (important for the plants’ roots) and it enfolds the plants, carrying moisture to their roots when watered as directed.
You can use these anywhere you’ve got a wall that gets good light. The producers promise it won’t soil the wall because of a moisture barrier inside.
The Mini Wally is 8 inches by 13 inches and retails for $18. (Get the fundraiser going first). There’s also Wally One, 15 x 24 inches, for $40, and a new iteration in stiff plastic that’s 13 x 18 inches and sells for $ 26.99.
A note about all this plastic: We consider these containers entirely suitable for decor plants and green walls. When it comes to edibles, some people may prefer to not plant in plastic because of its potential leaching when hot. The PET plastic used here has been shown to be about as safe and inert as plastic gets.
If you’re concerned about the plastic (recently a different type of plastic, #7 BPA-free plastic was shown to contain BPA), you could fashion your own wall plant containers out of all natural materials, perhaps wood, canvas or burlap.
The downside with the natural weaves, you’d have to accept some leakage. So the alternative may be suitable for a brick or concrete wall, but not most interior walls or painted exterior walls.
(The Wooly Pocket corporation is based in Los Angeles, for those looking to buy locally.)