Living wall systems are vertical growing platforms that usually form part of a building façade. Some are continuous, others modular. Continuous systems are lightweight screens with pockets that can contain wet felted substrate layers, or rock wool, for the plants to grow in, or the plants’ exposed roots are kept wet with nutrient-rich fluids. An example of a continuous system is hydroponics.
Modular living wall systems are irrigated plant trays or pots containing soil and fixed onto a supporting structure on the building’s vertical surface. Modular systems are widely used because they make an immediate aesthetic impact. The plants are pre-grown offsite, and individual plants are easily replaced.
To learn more about which modular living wall systems work best, I compared two during the 2021/2022 growing season in Pretoria, South Africa. My six-month study also compared traditional African vegetable crops with mainstream crops.
Benefits of living walls include food production, biodiversity, cooling, air purification, and noise reduction. They also have aesthetic value and are known to reduce stress and improve productivity and well-being. When households grow edible crops in living walls, it reduces the environmental impact of food because it doesn’t have to come from far away. And it reduces waste. Growing vegetables has also been found to encourage urban gardeners to eat a more balanced diet in Honduras, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere.
Read more at theconversation.com