My Gutter Salad Garden


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I’m soooo excited! After pinning a gorgeous picture of someone’s gutter garden a while back, I got my husband to make me my own! I shared last week some plans for my “real” garden – but it’s 2 miles away and not the most convenient for when I just want a quick herb or a bit of lettuce. So I decided that a gutter salad garden would be a lot of fun to try.

And wouldn’t you know it? We had some old gutters lying around – perks of a husband in the remolding business… He drug me out to the scrap pile a couple weeks ago and I picked out my gutter.  We decided to attach it to the side of my porch – right inside that door is my kitchen so it’s only a few steps for me to grab my herbs.

The first thing we had to do was cut it to size. Then he installed the gutter mounting hardware and screwed it onto the side of the porch.

Then we drilled some drainage holes in the bottom.

Added a few rocks and then filled it with re-claimed dirt.

That icky looking porch floor has since been painted red. It looks much better. I should have updated my picture…Part of my spring cleaning is also to spruce up the outside of the house and make an appealing entrance. I’m on the lookout for thrifting finds! And I might go snooping around my father-in-law’s barn. He has all kinds of treasures waiting for me out there. But I digress…

Then, I planted about a third of the gutter with lettuce. And guess what I found growing out there this weekend? BABY LETTUCE! I’m so excited. I started some herbs in my basement to go out there when it warms up (and frost danger is over). And, I plan to plant more lettuce next week.

I also went out to check on my big garden. I haven’t really done much out there since I reported last week. I was excited to find baby peas today. I’ll have to get their climbing fence installed pretty soon. And, the green onions I transplanted from my old garden look great. I also weeded my strawberries and was glad to see them looking good. Finally, I found baby rhubarb – also at my house. I almost starting drooling over the rhubarb. Can’t wait for the rhubarb!

I get the biggest kick out of seeing things I’ve planted – actually growing. It’s such a thrill. And so, so easy. Really, if you’re on the fence about gardening, just give it a shot. It’s so incredibly worthwhile.

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. Hi Michelle,

    I love it! I am in gardening mode too; fixing up my compost, planting lettuce, spinach and turnips…and this gutter garden idea is fascinating. I think there were a couple of similar items in our yard when we moved in; tiny, long gardens on trays sort of. I will haul them out from the depths of the backyard and see what I can do with them, great idea!

  2. Ok. This is one of the coolest things I”ve ever seen! I wonder if I could adapt this for our small housing division lot? This is awesome! Thanks for sharing at Handmade Tuesdays.

    1. As long as it doesn’t break any covenants you may have, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! Good luck! I’d love to hear if you do anything like this. 🙂

  3. My husband has the green thumb in our relationship. He loves to garden and I don’t mind the fresh and tasty produce. We just moved to the desert though, so figuring out what grows here and when has been quite the learning experience.

    1. I recommend having him or both of you looking into Hydroponic Gardening; it is great for Desert climates (just have to keep the water cool is all). I am building a system out of 4 inch pvc, that will be wrapped in reflective paper, and during the summer, the reservoir will be partially burried to keep the nutrient/water solution cool. It would work for the desert as well.

  4. What a great idea! My husband built me a Salad Table for Christmas, which is kind of similar concept. However, my lettuce planted 2 weeks ago has caught up with the lettuce planted in the Salad Table back in late Jan or early Feb. Not sure if it was using leftover bag of plain top soil in the table — I was in such a hurry to get it done I didn’t bother with making or buying a better mix — or if the concept will work better here in the south for growing fall through winter.

    p.s. Like your comment verifier so much better than the wavy words that I can’t hardly read!

    1. Is it getting hot down there already? Lettuce is a cool weather crop. I’m hopeful that mine does well – we’ll see. Stay tuned for progress updates!

  5. What a great idea! My big garden isn’t quite 2 miles away – but it is a far hike when one needs a little spinach for a salad!

    I’m also a home schooling mom living down in south central Iowa. I’m excited to check out your blog and get to know you better!

  6. This is a neat idea–looking forward to seeing how it works for you! And I agree–it is exciting to see little plants emerge from the seeds–I never get tired of it!

  7. I love how you adapted the concept for your porch! Sounds like your veggies are ahead of ours. I can see lettuce coming up but nothing else.

  8. Love this! I wish we had space for a gutter garden, but that’s not really an option in our townhome. Have to stick with our raised bed garden for the time being!

  9. This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever seen. Makes me wish we’d have had the gutter company leave some of our old gutter behind when we replaced ours a couple of year back. Happy growing.

  10. Michelle!!! This is flippin’ awesome! It looks beautiful. I hope you have a great harvest:) I have to share this on my fb page.

  11. This is such a great idea! Reminds me of one I saw last year for strawberries. Sections of gutter in a sort of tall rack formation, with each level slightly angled down to the next on alternating sides so that, when watered from the top, the water would find it’s way to the bottom to be pumped back up. Really have to keep my eyes open for some gutter pieces. Thanks for another great idea!

  12. Saw this on Pinterest. Such a great idea. I was thinking of something like this, but we are cutting a tree down this weekend to be able to allow more sunshine and expand our garden. We did plant spring veggies for the first time this year and have baby peas and beets. So exciting!!! Enjoy your new garden!!!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I’ll post progress – I so hope it works. 🙂 Congrats on your spring veggies. I have to get out there and plant more. I’m also growing beets for the first time ever. Not sure what I’ll do with them, but we’ll figure it out when the time comes.

  13. I love this idea! I too saw one on pinterest and want to plant a gutter garden. Can I ask… what type of lettuce do you have in yours? Also what else can you reccomend veggie wise that you think may do well in a gutter? Thanks so much for any info

    1. Deb, I planted a mesclun mix type lettuce. I also plant to plant a few herbs. I think spinach might do ok – definitely you’d want to stick with smaller veggies as the gutter’s not that deep. I’m guessing no carrots, for instance! 😉 I’m not sure what else I’ll plant in there. I’ll update when I add more!

  14. oh my gosh, i love that. it looks perfect where you put it, and good luck with your baby lettuce!

  15. Michelle, about planting carrots: there are so many varieties out there! One called Parisian should work perfectly in your gutter garden! They are about the size of a golf ball…maybe a little smaller and round. Check them out…they should be perfect for your gutter garden!

    1. Great tip! I actually saw those carrots in my seed catalog this year and forgot all about them. Thanks!

  16. what a super cool idea! It’s like a window box for your deck. I’ve never seen one of those before, but I think it looks so cool.

  17. I love this idea! We are in an escrow on a house, so I am collecting gardening ideas. Thanks for sharing this with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  18. What an excellent idea! I really must get myself in the planting mode and get some lettuce going. 🙂

  19. This is so creative! Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday….hope to see you back next week! 🙂

  20. It looked like you used a metal gutter, is that correct? I would be cautious about using a vinyl gutter because of chemicals that might leach into your food. My only other caveat would be not using really old gutters if they’re painted and you don’t know for sure what type of paint they contain. This is an awesome idea though, I’d love to see some updated pictures of your gutter garden as it grows!

    1. Yes, metal – not vinyl. EEK! Great caveats. I’m pretty sure there’s no lead based paint on that thing, but I’ll take a look at that. And I will post pictures soon! 🙂

  21. Awesome Idea, Michelle! Is the gutter from the house/roof dumping into your gutter garden? Didnt look that way. Might be a cool way to water it (would probably want a carbon filter on it though). Thanks for sharing, glad I found your site!

    1. Hi Corey, No our house gutter doesn’t dump into that. I’d be a little worried that it would flood too much water into during a heavy rain, but it is something to consider! Thanks so much for sharing my post on your page. 🙂

  22. Wow! Who woulda thunk it . . . gardening in a recycled gutter? Well, you of course!
    What an utterly fantastic idea, and right outside the kitchen door, too!
    Now . . . to find me some old used gutters . . . . looking . . . . . looking . . . still looking . . . .

  23. What an awesome idea! I am bookmarking this so that when we get our own house again, I can be sure to include it in the gardening plans! This would be great and what a space saver. Thanks so much!

  24. I have had a small garden in my front yard for several years and I do like fresh herbs. This would do well for the herb garden. Thank you

  25. HOA’s in our area would never go for this. However, it might work inside the back fence. I’m going to have to get creative. I believe personal responsibility is the key to being prepared for all of life’s events.

  26. I would like to put a gutter garden around my deck. The deck has no railing and has a deep drop off. I want to plant lemon grass to keep Mosquitos away and add a type of short wall (if you can imanige). I need to find out it the lemon grass will grow in shade. The trees canopy the whole back yard. Not much sun at all.