Vertical Gardens Debut at O’Hare

On May 1 O’Hare International Airport added a little bit of green…literally, to its decor — vertical gardens — or an aeroponic vegetable garden, to be technical.

Vertical gardening is thought to be the next “big thing” in gardening, eliminating the growing problem of restricted horizontal space facing gardens nowadays. So, why not grow a garden vertically? These vertical gardens, or green walls, are “living walls” comprised of climbing plants or specially-designed structures. With vertical gardening, hydroponics is used to grow the plants. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants utilizing nutrient solutions in water — no soil. Soil is not essential to a plant’s growth. Most plants grow with hydroponics. It is also the standard technique in biology research and training. This type of gardening fits in great at O’Hare, which has 26 aeroponic towers in a 928 square foot garden located on Concourse H between Terminals 2 and 3.

The Chicago Department of Aviation’s O’Hare Urban Garden is used to provide food for the restaurants at the airport. The garden uses green technologies, which includes recycling the water used in the garden. The garden boasts a variety of produce including basil, arugula, a variety of lettuces, leaf parsley — 44 plants on each tower. The garden is expected to feed more than 10,000 people at the airport annually.