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Vertical Gardening

Updated on March 10, 2022
Bob Ewing profile image

Bob is a permaculture designer and a garden writer. His ebook, From My Garden, is widely available.

Growing Up

The gardener will eventually emerge in us if we do not lock ourselves into a pre-conceived definition of what a garden is and what it looks like. Take a minute a think up instead of along the ground, vertical and not horizontal.

We grow beans on poles and peas why not expand that list. When you make the choice to grow vertical your small space expands, growing up means growing more.

You still need sunlight, just as many hours as you do if you are growing along the ground but you need much less space.

You can grow plant, cucumbers and zucchinis, for example, vertically and in containers as long as the container has suitable drainage and is large enough so that the plant’s root system develops. Roots are important to the plant’s vitality so do not squeeze them too tightly or your plant will suffer.

Balcony railings can also provide enough support for beans and pea and a little privacy screen as well. One year we had lettuce, peas and cherry tomatoes on the balcony and you could sit out there and pick yourself a fresh salad.

The peas grew in containers and I used twist ties to fasten the stalks to the rails.

Another year I experimented with a miniature zucchini in a container and let the vines use the rails for support. The crop was good, perhaps not as good as it may have been in the backyard but then I did not have a backyard garden so I made do with the space that I had.

If you choose to grow squash or melons vertically, it is important to make sure that you sue a support that is strong enough to hold the fruit. You do not want the results of your weeks of care falling off before it is time to harvest.

I have seen people grow watermelons up trees and use hammock to cradle the fruit as the vines where suspended between poles. These are large space projects.

What we are looking at here are ways to grow in a small space and still get a good crop.

There are commercial stacking systems that you can purchase that enable you to grow several different herbs or vegetables in a small space. They look like houseplant stands and occupy approximately the same amount of space.

In fact, you could probably use a houseplant stand, one that will hold 3-5 pots to grow appropriate plants, based on pot size, in your balcony or patio garden.

Do not be deterred from enjoying the many benefits that cone from gardening simply because the space you have is rather small.

If the space gets 5-6 hours of sunlight a day, you can grow a variety of herbs and vegetables and have fresh, straight from your garden produce at hand through the gardening season.

Let your imagination and creativity guide you as you design your small space garden. You are thinking up and not out and be sure to take a good look at any existing support structures in that space, fences, walls, balcony railing can all provide you with a place to grow.

Growing Up

Looking Up
Looking Up | Source

Vertical Gardening


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