Words & Photos by Ashley Herrin
For some of us, living within the confines of small spaces is the norm. Preference, job opportunities or other variables drive us to inhabit a city-dweller’s life. Although restricted by the size of our dwelling, we seek alternative and creative means of making what some may view as a squalid imprisonment, into something brimming with life and opportunity.
For me, Boston is home. I have always been drawn to the city by employment opportunities, but am constantly longing for green spaces. It is a rarity to find a city dweller with a front or back yard and often times, even a small porch to call his or her own. This year, I was blessed with just that: a humble porch to call my own, and I was determined to transform this small, open space into a sustainable urban garden.
I found that the greatest asset of my porch were the two railings that ran along the length of the space, with one sitting about 3 feet below the other. With this in mind, it was decided that a “gutter garden” would be the best use of the space while still allowing regular use of the porch.
A gutter garden is ideal for small-space gardening. By simply drilling holes 3 inches apart into the bottom of the gutters, and then vertically aligning these three to four feet apart, you are creating a self-sufficient watering and draining system.
Two gutters, cut to desirable length
Four gutter end caps
Four gutter mounting brackets
Screwdriver and screws
Rope, bungee cords, or similar
Step 1: Measure length of railings. Cut gutter to fit if needed.
Step 2: Drill holes into the bottom of the gutters, about 3 inches apart.
Step 3: Hang gutters using the mounting brackets. Drill into railings for additional support and/or tie down. Secure end caps.
Step 4: Fill gutters with soil.
Step 5: Sprinkle seeds along the length of the gutters.
Step 6: Watch your harvest grow!