How to Grow a Vertical Garden

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Verticle gardening is basically an extension of the “bean tepee” idea. It’s a method of growing more with less space by using vertical structures. Obviously not all vegetables can be grown this way, but with a little creativity more than just vining plants can be grown vertically.

Many vegetables and herbs can be grown vertically including:
green beans
sugar snap peas
snow peas
pole beans
cucumbers
melons
pumpkins
squash
tomatoes
nasturtiums

The list expands greatly if you add hanging containers or other methods of growing on a wall, fence or other structure.

You’ll find many reasons gardeners love growing vertically, but personally I find the idea of saving space the best reason. There are other benefits such as keeping your harvest off the ground where it might rot, and the ease of harvesting fruit at a higher level, which is often easier on the back.

There are cautions to consider when gardening vertically. Using tall structures means planning carefully so the taller plants aren’t shading those that need full sun. Plants are often more exposed, which means watching carefully so the soil doesn’t dry out more quickly and amending the watering schedule on windy days.

What structures can be used in vertical gardens? The ideas are endless once the basic needs are met. No matter what structure is used it needs to be secured well. This may mean sinking posts and poles up to two feet deep, depending on the structure. It’s worth the extra work to do this if it means your vegetable plants don’t hit the ground on a windy day or during a summer storm.

Livestock panels are a lesser used option that I find especially helpful in vertical gardening. I’ve grown beans and cucumbers on a panel placed in a raised bed for several years now. I highly recommend this type of fencing for vegetables. It’s durable and easy to work with because it’s so sturdy.

This list gives you an idea of what you can use as garden supports:

Bamboo Poles/Teepee’s
Trellises-wooden, iron, etc.
Arbors
Tripods
Wire cages
Ladders
Concrete-reinforcing wire
Chicken wire
Mesh
Old gates

If you are growing on any of these structures against a building, make sure to leave room for the air to circulate and the plants to weave in and out. It shouldn’t be flat against a wall. I tilt my livestock panels rather than stand them against the building.

WALL GARDENS
Wall gardens can be made by securing pots, and other containers to outside building walls that already exist or create “walls” out of wooden pallets, old doors, ladders or other scrap wood. Containers can be made out of the followings:

Plastic or clay pots
Empty cans
Gutters
Baskets
Plastic or metal pails
Wooden boxes

This is just a short list of containers that can be used. There are many other items that will work, as long as drainage holes are drilled in the bottom and the material its made of will stand up to soil and water needed to grow plants. Again, be aware that containers will dry out much quicker, especially on windy days, it’s important to monitor the soil and adjust it as necessary. Plants that do well in containers are strawberries, greens and lettuce, radishes, annual culinary herbs, green onions, spinach, peppers.

The following structures are just an example of what can be used in vertical gardens.

Bean Tower:  A sturdy structure with thicker supports coupled with 10″ legs that hold it securely in the ground. Perfect for beans, peas or any climbing plant.

Rainbow Spiral Supports, Set of 5:  These 5′ tall rainbow spirals provide sturdy support for your plants as they grow. Simply push into the ground at the base of a tomato plant or flowering vine.

Jardin Half-Round Trellis, 5 Ft.:  These freestanding trellises add a sculptural element to your garden landscape and are perfect for vines, or plants with a spreading nature that can be tied to the trellis.

Large Black Expandable Bamboo Trellis:  These versatile trellises provide sturdy support for vines and climbing plants. Install against any outdoor wall or create a freestanding fence or screen.

Garden Cane Connects, Set of 6 : These ingenious, daisy-shaped connectors let you easily gather up to six bamboo canes into tepees or other structures. Made from silicone and rubber with six holes, they stretch and flex to hold.

Sectional Bamboo Poles, Set of 9 : These bamboo poles come in two sections joined by a metal connector. Simply slip the top and bottom sections together to quickly and easily create 7-1/2′ high poles.

Vegetable Trellis, 56″:  Maximize your harvest of peas, cucumbers, summer squash and other climbers by growing them up this space-saving trellis sized to fit raised beds.

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