UC Master Gardeners of San Mateo & San Francisco
University of California
UC Master Gardeners of San Mateo & San Francisco

Maker Faire Booth

Join us at the 2017 Maker Faire, May 19-May21!

The Maker Faire is described as the biggest show-and-tell on earth! Thousands of people attend this annual event which features Makers from all over the Bay Area showing off their DIY projects.

Last year's theme was Vertical Gardening of edibles.  Our booth demonstrated how to grow more vegetables, herbs and flowers for a beautiful and productive home garden. It was a big hit of the event! 

Some of the projects we showcased included: rain-gutter vegetable planters; hanging shoe organizers planted with lettuce; a 5-foot strawberry tower, and an old ladder repurposed as a multilevel stand for wooden wine crates of flowers. Our booth also ran a free hands-on training for attendees showing how to propagate both lavender and rosemary cuttings. Participants were able to take home their work and care for their new herb plant.

Dates, times, location and directions.

 

Featured Project: Rain Gutter Garden

Completed rain-gutter planter with lettuce, marigolds, and herbs         
Completed rain-gutter planter with lettuce, marigolds, and herbs
Here's a gorgeous way to grow edible plants that won’t break the bank. Edible rain-gutter gardens are a great way to utilize growing space on a balcony or create an easy way for a small child to water and tend plants at their eye level. 

Step 1

Acquire Gutter Pieces

Buying gutter pieces from a local hardware store and constructing them at home is both easy and affordable.  Four assembled 8’ long gutters cost less than a total of $200.  Used gutter parts can also be repurposed to create these planters.

There are many rain-gutter materials to choose from, such as plastic, aluminum and copper.  Steel gutters were chosen for this project because they are safe for edible foods as well as being attractive with an industrial look.

Step 2

Collect Planting Materials

Planting materials used to create rain-gutter planters         
Planting materials used to create rain-gutter planters

  • Potting mix (containing slow release fertilizer)
  • Perlite (if weight is an issue and you want to make the gutters lighter)
  • A mesh or weed fabric to keep soil from draining out
  • 4” pots of edible flowers, vegetables, and herbs.  Choose types with shallow root-systems (strawberries, lettuce, radishes, spinach, thyme, nasturtiums, etc.)

Step 3

Assemble Planters

  • Gutter end cap attached and secured with self-drilling screws         
    Gutter end cap attached and secured with self-drilling screws
    Using self-drilling metal screws, attach gutter ends onto gutters
  • Mesh or weed-block fabric placed over drainage holes keeps soil from draining out         
    Mesh or weed-block fabric placed over drainage holes keeps soil from draining out
    Place mesh to cover drainage hole(s)
  • Gutter braces clip on and keep gutter-planters from bowing & distorting when filled with soil         
    Gutter braces clip on and keep gutter-planters from bowing & distorting when filled with soil
    Clip in braces so gutter holds its shape and its sides don't bow out when filled

Step 4

Fill and Plant

Rain gutter planters being filled with potting mix and planted with edible plants         
Rain gutter planters being filled with potting mix and planted with edible plants

Optional: If you'd like the planters to be lighter and drain more quickly, mix perlite into your potting soil at a 1:4 ratio.  Potting mixes vary widely; experiment to find the ideal proportions.

Fill gutters 2/3 full with your potting mix.  Place plants first, then take a step back and assess your arrangement. Make adjustments to allow sufficient room for growth and for maximum visual appeal. Plant and fill as with any container, firming the soil gently as you go and ensuring that the final soil level remains 1" below the container rim.

Step 5

Hang or Fasten Planters

Hang your final edible rain gutter from a fence, or tie rope and hang from a porch. You can add a drip system if you don’t want to water by hand. Enjoy and bon appetit!

Completed rain-gutter planter with pansies, beans, chives, and other edibles         
Completed rain-gutter planter with pansies, beans, chives, and other edibles
Completed rain-gutter planter with spinach, peas, basil, and dill         
Completed rain-gutter planter with spinach, peas, basil, and dill

Don't forget to take photos of your project and tag #SFBayGardeners on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter!

 

 
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