How to Grow More in Less Space with a Vertical Garden
Source: Roots And Refuge Farm
What Is a Vertical Garden?
Put very simply, a vertical garden is a way to encourage fruits, vegetables, herbs or flowers to grow up instead of down on the ground, by means of some kind of support or structure. It can be done in the ground, in containers, on a wall, or even without soil.
Building your $30 Garden Trellis DIY How To (scroll 7 min in)
The best edible plants for growing in a vertical garden have climbing or vining habits, like cucumbers, tomatoes, pole beans, peas, and even a variety of squash and pumpkins (You can also add vining flowers to your vertical elements for beauty, too!).
While lack of space (such as in an urban or apartment setting) usually motivates the vertical approach, there are many other advantages to this creative way of gardening:
- Disease prevention
- Ease of harvest (no bending over)
- Higher yield
- More shapely produce (no flat side from laying on the ground)
- Visual interest or even privacy
- Portability; some container systems can be moved to follow available sun
- Controlling invasive or wide-spreading plants like squash vines
- Creates shelter for shade-loving plants (or people)
The possible ways a vertical garden might look are endless, from the very simple and cheap to the breathtakingly complex and expensive.
Traditional Garden with Vertical Elements
If you have an existing backyard garden, plan to add a trellis and climbing plants on the north side of your plot. This keeps your taller plants from shading the rest of the garden. I also suggest using a support that is portable and not permanent, so you can rotate your plantings from season to season.
Here are some veggie ideas to grow your plants vertically in a traditional garden bed with an added trellis:
- Corn, Pole Beans, and Squash
- Squash (Acorn, Butternut, Delicata) – train the vines up using twine/zip ties.
Don’t forget to plant lettuce, spinach, and other delicate, shade-loving plants in the shade these trellises provide!