Vertical Gardening in Rain Gutters So You Can Grow Food Anywhere

This is John Kohler with
I have another exciting episode for you today and today is the last day and you’re getting
an inside peek ’cause this is actually before they open before it gets super crowded in
here and I can’t make anymore videos fro you guys. It’s we’re at the 2012 national heirloom
exposition and we’re at today is the hall of flowers. This is a huge giant hall and
they literally have thousands of varieties of heirloom crops in display here to show
you guys what is available and what is totally possible in growing and in this episode we’re
going to look around some of the cool booths here in this hall and one of the coolest displays
in this hall actually is here. This is actually form Log calls plant and this actually shows
you a lot of nonedible, once again nonedible varieties of cucumbers or gherkins which are
like the wild relative of what we know as the cucumber today. There are a few edibles
but these are mostly nonedibles but I want to show you guys this because it just shows
you in a small amount of space in a trellis, you can grow a lot of fruit for eating or
just for fun. So, let me go ahead and give you guys a close-up on that and we’ll talk
more about these wild cucumbers next. Here’s just like a little container garden here.
Literally, it’s made out of a metal and they put some moss in there. You can also use some
coconut core to line it and they put some of course good soil. Soil is the number one
key to some healthy plants and this guys actually called the ornamental cucumber. So, these
are not edible. They may be and probably are poisonous, but this is like little cucumber
like leaves and this is just a little small trellis, maybe about 4 feet tall, and this
container here that its in, it might be like 3 feet if that by about 8 inches, you know,
wide and maybe 10 inches deep. So, even in a small space with ah nice little bamboo trellis,
look at all these fruits growing and check out these guys, man. These guys are a little
wild little things that’s the size of my hand and that’s the fruit there. Once again, these
are ornamental, not for eating, but the next ones are for eating and here’s once again
another little container, and, you know, if you have a balcony or patio and you get some
pretty good sun, you could have a little container like this and put up a little trellis and
grow some of these smaller type cucumbers, you know. They’re going to do really well
in a nice simple lightweight trellis and it’s going to produce a lot of food. I mean, look
at all these fruits in here. These are just off couple plants here. These are amazing
producers, and these ones are edible. So, this is the one of my favorite varieties of
the gherkins to grow. This is the west Indi gherkin and this is actually a special variety
I haven’t seen before, so if you have the seed, hey, send them to me. This is called
the liso Calcutta cucumber and this special variety the west Indi gherkin variety with
slightly larger fruits and smoother skin. So, I have grown the standard west Indi gherkin
before but these guys significantly larger than the ones I’ve grown and some of these,
while they are quire spiky, some of them are not, like this one right here, not too spiky,
but once again growing up a trellis and wow they look totally amazing and here’s a whole
bunch at the bottom. So, these ones are edible and I have noticed when I did grow the bergherkins
last year that they’re a little but more resistant to the powdery mildew and really fast growers
compared to my standard cucumbers. So, I always want to encourage you guys to grow different
varieties, ’cause they may do better or worse, plus, to me, these guys have the most amazing
flavor in a cucumber. If you don’t harvest them just right, they do get bitter o you.
So, you do have to be aware of that, you know. That trait has been bred out of many of the
common cucumbers that people are growing today. So, the next on here is definitely another
edible to, and I’ve read a lot about this and seen it in the seed catalogs but never
actually have growing them out yet. This is actually called the Sikkim cucumber. There’s
little tag and this one’s also edible and this one doesn’t look like it did as well
as some of those other ones there, but this one kind of almost looks like a little melon
on the vine, but, yes this is a cucumber and that’s how they do look. It looks pretty cool
and I have no idea how these taste. So, you know, one of these days I’m going to have
to grow these guys, but seeds are widely available for this guys. Once again, this is just how
small these boxes are, just like that and, I mean, they got these little bamboo trellises
look really good. Next over on this side, this one’s pretty wild. Man, I just love how
some of these fruits look. This is a nonedible so don’t try to eat this one. This is actually
called the African wild cucumber. This is actually a nonedible and these are actually
better than gourds for drying. So, these would make an amazing artwork display or display
for the wintertime. Once again, these are just for, you know, decorative purposes. They’re
a little fruits, they’re not even painted, I mean, this is how they are naturally with
little spines on them and check it out, all of them in this little trellis. You can see
all the little fruits there and it’s even, the plants still flowering. There’s the flowers
right there. Definitely really cool. When they’re immature, they’re just as small little
green babies, and this ones still producing really good. We’re going to go to the next
one and once again this is another nonedible. This is ornamental cucumber called a patty
melon, also known as the gooseberry gourd. Once again, nice little round nonedible fruit.
Really decorative with some little spines on them, and once again this plant’s looking
like it’s doing pretty good and man this is definitely a curiosity piece. People ask you
what that is and if you have a community garden, people are eating your food, hey, plant some
of these guys and they’ll probably stay away. Last one we’re going to talk about is one
that I have grown before and it’s actually very prolific and I highly encourage you guys
to grow this in your garden next year if you’re not growing it already. These guys are super
cool. These are edible and this is actually called the Mexican sour gherkin. So, you can
see this plant is very prolific, just it just sends out lots of leaves and in addiction
to the leaves it’s also producing lots of little fruits and let’s see if we can find
a little fruits there, and there it is right there and if you can see there that’s the
size of my middle finer and the little fruit. So, they’re quite small and they look like
little miniature watermelon and these are the sour gherkins and for these guys I found
for best results, you know, if you see them on there and you meant like, ‘oh, John, yea,
that looks ripe,’ and you pull it off and eat it, it’s going to be sour on you. These
are like these are going to taste like pickles without even you picking them, but guess what?
Is it ripe if you pull something off the vine or plant? No but when the plants gives it
to you, then it’s ripe. So, what you want to do instead of pulling it off is, you want
to like look down a t the base, and, you know, near the bottom of the plant you want to go
down here and see if any of these things have dropped off. I found that once these little
guys drop off the vine and are sitting on the ground maybe for a day or two then actually
they get quite sweet and they have an amazing flavor. So, you know, if you do grow the Mexican
sour gherkins, they’re only sour if you pick them off the vine. I you do let them drop
and ripen they’re actually tad bit sweet and actually quite good. So, I know what you guys
might be wondering, might be wondering, ‘John, I want to grow some of those things out, man,
and I went to my local big box, my local hardware store, they don’t have none of these varieties.
Where do you get them?’ Well, there’s a very good place to buy all these varieties of these
wild and edible cucumbers and the one I would go to is called It’s a baker
creek seed company and they have many of the varieties that you just saw right there and
be able to grow them out and so you can try them next year in your garden. Now we’re going
to show you guys a really cool booth here. This is the booth of tortica garden designs
and what they have is a way you can grow food vertically on a wall whether you got an apartment,
condo, or house, roe vena fence, you want to start growing on, they got a really col
system that I will allow you to do that. So, let’s head over there in the background and
show you guys what specifically they’re doing. We’re going to show you guys this booth, and
as you can see, what we’re looking at is gutters, like rain gutters, galvanized rain gutters,
hooked up the 1 by 6 and you can see jus section of rain gutter with the ends on it and all
they’re doing there is attaching the rain gutter the 1 by 6 and then they’re just planting
in it. It’s very simple. Plants don’t need a lot of soil, especially things like herb
and some lettuces and you can easily build something like this, you know, put it on a
1 by 6 and then actually they just put these little hangers there to hang it up with some
nails that’ll hold this up to your wall. So, whether you want to put this to a side of
a fence or to the side your house, that’s how easy it is. I mean, it’s kind of heavy.
You can movie it off and lift it off, but 2 nails support this whole thing. Let’s take
a look and see if they put any holes in the bottom for drainage. Yes, looks like they
put a few holes in the bottom for drainage, so you will get leakage. Another thing you
could do instead of putting it straight is putting it at an angle and then have a little
thing to collect any extra runoff water and then reuse that to water again. So, definitely
really smart idea. Now, I wouldn’t be growing tomatoes or bell peppers in anything like
this, but for small things like lettuces and herbs, tis is going to be a great way to grow
some food in a small amount of space, and once again, you could get the 1 by 6’s at
any hardware store big box hardware stores and what you could use plastic, you know,
gutters, I would highly recommend an encourage you guys to use the galvanized, just to use
the real metal stuff instead of the PVC or the polycinvalchloride gutter which I’m not
a big fan of in general. So, yes, definitely good idea to grow more food vertically. I
hope you guys enjoyed that episode learning more about those cool wild and edible cucumbers.
The gherkins some of my favorites and I hope that there are more gherkins and edible ones
in the future that I could grow. I like them a lot more than the cucumbers because they’re
more of a wild food, they’re smaller, they grow more in abundance and, you know, I’m
all for, especially home gardener, growing things like cherry tomatoes, growing things
like the small little mini bell peppers and growing smaller fruits because they tend to
yield more larger quantities over, you know, longer period of time than growing like a
few big beef steaks of something, but, you know, for commercial growers and people that
re farming for a living, they can’t really grow these smaller things because it take
a lot more labor to pick and harvest these things, but when you’re at home doing it yourself,
it’s definitely the way to go because you’re also going to have more success with some
of the smaller type fruits, and finally we saw the vertical gardening in the rain gutters.
That’s definitely a good idea whether you’re using a smaller section of rain gutter or
a big section. Definitely a great way you can grow some more herbs and small leafy crops
as well. Hopefully this is inspired you to show you guys what is truly possible all the
different varieties available, and some ways to grow some food and some new varieties you
can try at home. Once again, my name is John Kohler with We’ll see
you next time and remember; keep on growing.

100 thoughts on “Vertical Gardening in Rain Gutters So You Can Grow Food Anywhere

  1. There is a native plant in northern Illinois woods and maybe prairies called a wild cucumber. I grew it by mistake many years ago when a quantity of aged horse manure brought the seeds to me. Whether is is edible? Not sure…

  2. The rain gutters are cool, but honestly; unless you put them in a place that only gets morning or afternoon sun the roots will get baked in no time 🙁

  3. Why don't you like the PVC gutters? Metal can change the PH of the soil and water, so in aquaponics we generally try stay away from metal.

  4. PVC releases chlorine and other toxins. Also unless UV stable will break down gradually in sunlight. Metal will gradually degrade also. Zinc or other coatings for iron may end up in food in unwanted amounts. What's the answer, maybe polyethylene or other more stable forms of plastics. Anyone have any other ideas?

  5. Growin' in rain gutters,….COOL, this really grabbed my attention but,….learnin' about these wild cousins of the cucumber was even more interesting,…thumbs up John!! =)

  6. If they are above each other, the water will drip down to the next level- only need to slope the bottom one. …Surprised to hear John recommend the 'Big Box' hardware store. Why not suggest using reclaimed wood or even (gasp) local hardware store. I do love John- that's why expect better from him…

  7. Dude, don't worry if the west indies cucumbers are ripe and bitter, you can still cook with them!! Where I'm from we chop it up and make stew out of it with salted meat! Good stuff!
    PS: Isn't the mexican sour gerkin also known as mouse melons?

  8. John tends to recomend big box stores to make it more 'easier' for those who think they can't grow anything, or for those who find it intimidating to start. He mentions this every now and then, that's why I understand why he's not all super hippy about the Big Box hardwarestore 🙂

  9. Oh man, I want to plant 4 of these containers on my balcony. Where can I get them? I hope Home Depot or Lowes will have them. My balcony is empty and full of sun. Might as well grow some edibles. Just got the GSE 5000, now I need to learn how to grow my own vegetation. Thanks John for spreading health.

  10. I appreciated the photo of the gutter planters, they do well, sometimes people even have trees growing in their gutters in the mulch that accumulated naturally, so that does work. And you need a better camera, when you did the close-ups on the name tags for the plants it wasn't clear at all. Surely you have made some money by now, get a better camera-so WE can read the little signs for ourselves and Thanks!

  11. Most of this video has nothing to do with vertical gardening. Skip to 7:40 where the gutter stuf starts.

  12. Rain gutters are a great idea… BUT… Remember… They are going to heat up quite a bit and cook the roots of the plants… Lettuces will not like that, though there may be plants that DO… With all the research going on there should be a root zone temperature guide to know just where the sweet spot is for temp in the root zones…

  13. I actually built one of those rain gutters after watching this and it works great! With only taking up MAYBE 4 cubic feet I have around 40 – 50 plants growing. I plan on covering my walls with these things!

  14. Cool idea! Will for sure try this in my sun challenged yard. The fence gets plenty of sun, though, so this seems the best solution.

  15. Why is it bad to use PVC or plastic gutters instead of the galvanized metal gutters? I am a beginner gardener and I want to start vertical gardening. Thanks.

  16. to CourageDearHeart~ there are chemicals and cancer causing toxins in PVC~ you do not want your food growing around them~

  17. I would use PVC before galvanized. PVC is used in 2/3 of the US water supply pipes so I am not too worried about my bucket garden getting water from a PVC gutter. Galvanized has cadmium, lead and zinc issues. Zinc is more of a taste issue than a health concern for galvanized. The biggest health concern with PVC has been off-gassing plasticizers into the air (like in car interiors).

  18. I just got some of the Mexican Sour Gherkins seeds to plant this year !! Can't wait to try them!! So cool to come across this video and to see it grown in a container !! Will try them AFTER they fall off the vine !! I LOVE growing something new every year!!

  19. Just because the FDA allows PVC in our water system does not make it safe. They also allow sodium fluoride in our water, far more toxic than even lead.

  20. Yes! Why don't school kids grow their own lunches? It should be considered an essential part of their education. Then we would not have the problems with poor health in our kids and high prices for school lunches!

  21. Yes, and they would reconnect with nature and learn to become nurturing… in a perfect world…sigh.

  22. I hate to be overly critical of your videos because I like much of the information in them. However, like some others commenting on some of your videos, I think you talk too much…Instead of telling us what time it is, you tell how to make the clock first. That being said, the title of this video is "Vertical Gardening in Rain Gutters…" A good portion of this video was showing non-edible stuff. You didn't get into the Vertical gardening til 7:40. Time/info management, my friend…

  23. wanted a video on rain gutter gardening but you dont get to that until nearly the end.
    You should have called this "Cucumber gardening"

  24. That's a pretty neat idea. I own a gutter company and we have many scrap sections, maybe we can give them to our customers if they want to make a garden like this.

  25. how big is the root system on say a blue lake bush bean? we recently moved to the city so needing to grow up and was looking at the gutters stuff for things as large as the bush beans (note was looking at 8" gutters and then the 5" gutters for lettuce and stuff. oh and how about cabbage too? thanks Keith

  26. Just subscribed to you- always something creative that I hadn't thought about before! Your animated language makes your vids more interesting 🙂

  27. Love your videos. True you are a "loud talker" which is really not shouting but close, just like my husband. And your passion shows when you speak with the hand gestures., just like my sister. You give lots of information, sometimes more than expected, just like my mother. You could be in my family! Thanks for sharing your knowledge, I really enjoy your videos, ideas and information.

  28. You please talk about the topsy tuvy,gardener revolution planter and the DIY upside down planter. The best soil for these planter. Also can you talk about the crystal soil ball/plant gel soil ball.

  29. Rather than heading off to Home Depot to get 1x6s go grab a pallet and use the boards from. No need to spend extra money….

  30. Calm the frick down and talk in a normal voice.

    I just turned it off.
    This advert shouting technique does nothing for anyone outside of the USA.

  31. Those "ornamental" cucumbers look a lot like gypsum weed that grows out here in the Southern California desert. They are extremely toxic and produce crazy hallucinations and even death. I read that in small doses it has been used as an herbal pain killer and to treat asthma.

  32. You have a good idea, but sit on your hands and just get to the point, you take forever to get to the point.
    Talk to the camera as if an intelligent person wants to learn from you- you talk like
    a juvenile host on MTV .

  33. I am not an expert on galvanized, but I do know it is poisonous when welded, and reacts with some chemicals (possibly fertilizers?). II would trust the PVC instead.

  34. Lots of good info! thanks. I think if you edited the titles on your videos, to reflect the breadth of information therein, you would discourage the complainers/impatient people. I am a fan, and know I'm always gonna get a lot of useful information from your videos (and sometimes I just skip ahead.) 🙂

  35. Gutter gardening doesn't start until 7:34, save yourself some time 🙂  Also, might want to see about lining these, I don't know if building materials are safe for growing food crops, concept is awesome though, ty for the information.

  36. I saw a picture somewhere on the internet where someone grew strawberries in gutters.  Plants hung over where the strawberries were easy picking. I was going to try it this year.

  37. those are not wild cucumbers they are jimsonweed, angel trumpets, wild weed loco weed, whatever it is very poison. drug users eat the seeds and get a LSD result but it can kill you,  every few years we find a few teen agers near death, trippin, from eating the seeds of the prickly pods, or smoking or chewing the leaves.  they are illegal in most states to sell the seeds.   im surprised you don't know this, its as common as poke salad weed.  I have 8' tall plants of jemson weed but dang, don't get busted

  38. Nobody is saying that Africans in Africa will ever be a minority
    Nobody is saying that Asians in Asia will ever be a minority.
    So what's this we hear that Whites will be a minority in Britain in 2036?
    And in Sweden in 2024?
    That’s because there’s MASSIVE non-White immigration in EVERY White country and ONLY White countries.
    Because there’s a program of White geNOcide.
    They say it’s “anti-racist” but it’s simply anti-White.
    Anti-Racist is a codeword for anti-White.

  39. Jeff Stone-how do you know this host is on meth? That is a terrible thing to say on here for hundreds of people to see. That could cause this host to loose a lot of viewers, just because you run your mouth.
    "If you don't have something good to say, say nothing at all" In plain words,,, keep your mouth shut !!!!!

  40. I am using air pruning containers,I put them to close to each other and the roots are all connected.ugh! what should I do?- They are only 2 mo's old, and growing like crazy- Will I mess something up if I re- pot – or just leave it be.

  41. John, I'm seven, nearly eight, minutes into your not-quite eleven minute video about "Vertical Gardening in Rain Gutters So You Can Grow Food Anywhere" and not a word about "Vertical Gardening in Rain Gutters". Quit yappin' about "ornamental cucumbers" and GET TO THE FRIGGIN' POINT!
    Either that or re-title this: "82% Pointless Babble About Inedible Cucumbers – and a Few Seconds of Gardening in Rain Gutters". 
    Everyone else… you can just skip through to 7:45 and watch from there to 9:30, when he goes back to blabbering about "ornamental cucumbers". What a waste of time!

  42. this guy is not worth watching,to much yap and to little information .sour cuccs, cut both ends off to prevent a sour taste. If you wait until the fruit drops it is over ripe plus the plant will stop producing.If you pick just before the fruit is completly ripe the plant will produce far more. Once the fruit gets ripe on the plant the will stop prodcing

  43. I have noticed that these videos lack content. Just using the word "actually" or "ya know" every sentence or so makes me want to vomit. Also, a tendency to use cliché words such as "green", "organic", "wild", etc.

  44. I have rain gutter farmed on the balcony of my Toronto apartment for the last 3 years. I've had amazing success with this. I've used it for various lettuce, spinach, pak choy, herbs, and even bush beans. The only pitfall, since the soil is shallow, you really need to pay attention to watering.

  45. The very first plant (ornamental cucumber, not edible), looks almost exactly like the "thorn apple from the Sacred Datura plant". You can easily distinguish the Sacred Datura because of the large white, trumpet like flower called the Belladonna. The Datura is a psychedelic that is classified as a narcotic. It is known as the worlds scariest drug. Look up on the VICE documentary series where they go to Columbia in search of. I see it growing wild in the Phoenix, area where I live. I even know of a place where it is growing in a front yard as an ornamental, just a few blocks from my house. Evil and poisonous stuff and should never be messed with. I couldn't help but see the resemblance of that ornamental cucumber you were showing. Thanks for the video.

  46. Dude, it took you 7:44 min to get to vertical gardening in rain gutters that is literally the title of this video. What the hell?

  47. Those rain gutters DONT WORK!. I tried them, the plants I have in them never grow. But when I move them to the ground, they grow. I used the same soil as the ground. All experiments were controlled. What am I doing wrong?

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