Many urban vegetable gardeners have an issue with space for their vegetable gardens. I fit into this category as well, living in a city with over 150,000 residents, and in a subdivision with neighbors in every direction. How many times have we wanted to grow more vegetables, but just did not have the space. With some creative ideas and a little planning, you can use some vertical gardening techniques to save space in your vegetable garden.

What Is Vertical Gardening?

Cucumber Teepee
Simply put, vertical gardening is the practice of growing certain vegetable plants up a support to keep them from spreading on the ground. Most vining plants, such as cucumbers, can be grown vertically using a trellis. Growing these plants vertically saves space, and generally promotes more vigorous growth.

The Benefits of Vertical Gardening

As mentioned above, growing plants vertically saves space in the vegetable garden. You can grow more plants in a smaller area by using vertical gardening practices. A plant that would normally take up 4 square feet spread across the vegetable garden, will only take up 2 square feet if vertical gardening is used.

Vertical gardening can also greatly improve your crop production. Keeping vegetable plants off the soil will help prevent soil-borne diseases, and may limit the chances of rotten fruit. If vegetables are allowed to lay on the soil, they can begin rotting on the bottom side due to excessive moisture.

Growing some vining plants up a support also reduces the risk of powdery mildew, and other mildews, by improving the air circulation around the plants. This will also improve access to blooms for bees and other pollinators. Vertical gardening can greatly improve the overall appearance of your garden, because spreading plants will not look so unwieldy.

Vegetable Plants That Can Be Grown With Vertical Gardening

One of the most popular plants that can be grown vertically are tomatoes. Tomatoes can be grown within tomato cages or staked up. This saves a lot of space and will encourage better production and can extend the growing season of the tomatoes.

Cucumbers, as well as many types of vining beans, can be trained to climb up a trellis, garden arbor, or fence. Some small varieties of cantaloupe, pumpkin, and melons can be grown up an inclined trellis. This does not work well for most varieties of melons or pumpkins due to the large fruits the plants bear. Make sure to use the smaller varieties if you plan on implementing vertical gardening.

Passion fruit and grapes are some fruits that can also be grown vertically - not to mention jasmine, honeysuckle, blackberries and raspberries.

Vertical gardening can save you a heap of space in your garden, so go ahead and give it a try! Do you have other ways of vertical gardening that you do in your garden? If so, please share them!

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