Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Edible Blacony - Vertical Wall Plants Arrive

Nine new residents arrive at the Edible Balcony harbourside resort

As available floor space rapidly dwindles on the Edible Balcony I've decided to plant ....UP!
Tomorrow I'm having a vertical wall unit installed which will be able to accommodate 15 new edible plants.
The EcoVert wall unit is an exciting new design from Sydney landscape design company Junglefy.
It has been developed using the latest sustainability principles. It's made from light weight recycled plastic, and comes with modular compartments so plants can be replaced easily. The more advanced units have self-timing water pumps and solar panels so busy urban professionals can keep on being... well...  busy urban professionals and still have fresh herbs and vegies when they come home at night! They'll be installation pics and more details on Saucy tomorrow.

After assessing, space, available sunlight, water needs etc, I've selected a mix of herbs, pest control flowers and plants, and some lettuce varieties to plant into the EcoVert.
Most suburban nurseries and garden centres have a limited range of interesting herbs so I did some research and found the Four Seasons Herbs Company in Exeter, Tasmania.
Not only do they grow an exciting variety of seedlings which they will ship to you, but their seed stock is non-hybrid, non GMO (genetically-modified) and chemical-free. And for an edible gardener this means the plants are hardier, have a significantly higher nutitrional value, are more resistant to disease and pests and produce over a longer period of time.
Let me introduce you to .......

'Signorina' Spanish Sage ( Salvia Lavandulifolia)

In Spain this is the only sage apparently that they use in cooking. It has smaller leaves than regular sage but is more pungent. Some studies suggest that it is good for lowering blood sugar without affecting insulin levels. Sage protects cabbages from cabbage white moth.

'Count' Zataar (Origanum Syriaca)

 This is a relative of oregano. Its small greyish leaves smell sweet and spicy - a combination of thyme, oregano and sweet majoram actually.

'Chancellor' Chives (Allium Schoenprasum)

Chives are good companion plants for carrots and onions and its strong smell deters aphids

'Her Serene Highness' Vietnamese Mint (Persicaria Odorata)

Vietnamese Mint is a south-east Asian herb often used in laksas. Despite its name it is not a member of the mint family and likes soils to be damp but not too wet.

'The Imperial Miss' Feverfew (Chrysanthenum Parthenium)

Feverfew flowers attract beneficial predator insects (Ladybugs, Lacewings and Hoverfly) into the garden. It has reasonably high fertiliser requirements, and thrives in moist conditions with some shade.
Feverfew has been used to ease migraines and headaches as well.

'Monsieur' French Sorrel (Rumex Acetosa)

A tangy herb used in French cooking to make sorrel soup and sorrel sauce. Can be interchanged with spinach in recipes but should be cooked as it contains high levels of oxalic acid.

'Mistress' Catnip (Nepeta Catana)

Catnip repels some insects such as fleas, ants and mice (although, surprisingly, mice are not a huge problem on the 13th Floor!) It has a strong minty smell and attractive blue flowers and apparently cats go ga ga over it.

'Colonel' Mint Julep (Mentha cv julep)

 Best contained in a pot due to its invasive nature.
I'm mainly growing this so I can enjoy some southern Kentucky Mint Juleps!

'Wazza' Warrigal Greens (Terragonia Tetragonide)

If you've never eaten Warrigal Greens before (sometimes known as New Zealand Spinach) a taste sensation awaits you. I first experienced them in the little NSW coastal town of South-West Rocks where they grow wild. The local Italian chef Geppi prepares them blanched ( to remove the harmful oxalic acid in them) and then tossed in olive oil and butter with roasted walnut crumbs and parmesan wafers. Just writing that made my tummy rumble! Warrigal Greens like similar growing conditions to beans.

Check out Four Seasons Herbs full range of seeds and seedlings.


  1. Thanks Indira, looking forward to having a look at the four season's herbs web site for some wishful autumn inspiration. Good luck with the vertical planting, i'll be interested in seeing how it goes.

  2. OOOh I can't wait to see it all installed, exciting - this would be like me getting another tunnel.. the possibilities - and I expect yours will look very decorative!

  3. The hardcore herb lady! A vertical garden of any kind is fantastic, in my books. Nice one. Look forward to seeing the installation

  4. I love the idea of a vertical herb garden - it will look so pretty! One note of warning though - althuogh hoverflies and ladybugs may love it, the strong scent of feverfew is hated by bees so if you want plants such as cucs and squash pollinated you might want to plant it well away from them!

  5. Oh I'm SO excited for you, and a lovely selection too! The Vietnamese mint is another one that's handy to be confined to your wall as it can also go berserk (She says from personal experience).

    I'm most envious of your warrigal greens - would lovelovelove to grow my own:)

    Good luck in your set up, I am sure it will be equally as successful as your existing beautiful garden:)

  6. love the vertical planting idea...will check it out...

    i've got a few empty pots ATM after some upsizing of curry leaf trees into bigger i'll be checking our your Tasmanian supplier for some of the more unusual herbs that i can't find here.

    aaaahhh South West Rocks...or 'the rocks' as it's known locally. Do you visit often? My parents live off one of the many rural roads that off-shoot from South West Rocks Rd. There's been rivalry between South West Rocks and Crescent Head as the best beaches..LOL i'm on the Crescent Head fan club LOL

    As usual, a great blog entry! thanx.
    Ps...Indira the curry leaf tree is thriving well! No deaths in the family as yet...;)

  7. Xin Chào! Rất vui vì được làm quen! Can you read my comment?

  8. I cannot wait to see the pics. I remember hearing someone talk about a vertical herb wall before, but never seen one in action. Fantastic!
    -- Matti

  9. Your herb garden is ever so impressive, not to mention is all just grown out of a balcony, and need no a big backyard. Bravo.

  10. hi angela,
    love to hear what yo buy from four seasons herbs. Indira

    hi Liss,
    Oh to have a tunnel like yours... the vertical wall will have to sate my hunger. Indira

    Hi john@heneedsfood,
    yes love my herbs over everything. Boosts flavour and cuts down on your salt intake! Indira

    hi funkbunny, thanks for the tip about bees not liking feverfew. I will keep the cukes and squash well away. indira

    Dear suziwong66,
    don't get to South-West Rocks as much as I would like - perhaps once a year? Love how it's remained very similar to the coastal towns I remember as a child. Although I am very concerned about that ugly sprawling housing development as you enter the town. Save South-West Rocks because it rocks! Indira

    hi faroutflora,
    look forward to updating you about the green wall. Indira

    Hi billy@atablefortwo,
    thanks for the praise. I still have a way to go before I think it's at its productive best. But getting there. Indira