How to make a space-saving salad planter

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Takes just:

two hours

If your garden is small, it can be hard to find enough space to grow enough produce. This project helps make the most of unused space on fences or walls. In a couple of hours you can create a space-saving veg planter and enjoy the benefits of freshly-grown greens by turning a dead space into a productive one.

These planters are cheap and easy to make and a great way to grow fast-growing salad crops such as cut-and-come-again lettuce. They're also perfect for tumbling tomatoes and compact chilli pepper varieties.

If you're very short of time, they can be planted up with plug plants, which are cheap to buy in packs.

You will need

PVC guttering (1 x 2m length), the deepest available

Gutter stopends x 2

Gutter support brackets

Drill with 6-8mm drill bit

Rawlplugs (if attaching to wall); screws (if attaching to a fence)

Multi-purpose compost

Slow-release fertiliser

Salad seeds or pack or 12 cut-and-come-again salad plants

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Guttering is made from solid PVC, so if you want to use it as a planter you'll need to add some holes for drainage. Using a 6-8mm drill bit, drill a series of holes about 20cm apart in the bottom of the gutter, along its length.

To stop the compost falling out of the planter, push the stopends on to either end of the guttering, making sure they're securely fitted. Give them a firm push and they should click into place.

Place the guttering on a table and fill with multi-purpose compost, mixing in some fertiliser. Firm the compost to around 1cm below the lip of the gutter. Plant with plugs 10cm apart, or sow with mixed salad leaves.

Use a spirit level and pencil to mark the position of the gutter on the wall or fence. You need it to be accessible, so don't fix it too high. Attach the brackets to a fence with screws, or use Rawlplugs on a wall.

Fix the gutter on to the brackets: it will make an audible click. Water the seeds or seedlings in. As they grow, thin them out (add the thinnings to a salad). Harvest from plugs while they are small to avoid a glut of large plants.

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