Want to add some character to your chain link fence? Rain gutter gardening is an inventive way to take advantage of above-ground real estate.

A form of container gardening, these gutter planters can be fashioned from either upcycled materials or a vinyl gutter purchased from a home-improvement store. You’ll need PVC gutter end caps along each side to contain the soil. Gutter gardens can also be fun teaching tools for young gardeners.

Andrea Heim, Spice Acres’ farm manager, suggests hanging the rain gutter planters with chain and eye hooks.

“The biggest challenge is keeping the soil moist,” Andrea says, so closely monitor the moisture level, and be sure to punch holes in the bottom of the gutter for water drainage.

Only small, shallow root-based plants are suitable for this habitat, but the contents form the basis for a refreshing summer salad.

Among them:

  • Annual herbs (summer thyme, cilantro, basil)
  • Mint
  • Mixed lettuce
  • Baby greens (kale, arugula, chard)

Spice Kitchen + Bar chef Josh Woo offers the following simple recipe:

Gutter Garden Salad with Herb Vinaigrette

Chop a few bunches of whichever herbs you have available. Mix with your favorite olive oil and a splash of sherry vinegar to make vinaigrette. Add a little fresh chevre and strawberry. Toss with some of your gutter grown lettuce for a light and summery salad.