Vertical Gardening Tips For Small Spaces
For some of us that have a small backyard or have only a small space, vertical gardening is a great way to utilize all the square footage we have to grow food.
Vertical gardening is another branch of the many faces of vegetable container gardening.
The vertical vegetable garden layout is a particularly good idea if you do not have a large footprint area on the ground where you can grow things.
Vertical growing is particularly suited to climbing plants such as runner beans, French beans, peas, squash, cucumbers and courgettes, melons and even marrows. Despite some of these crops being heavy, such as marrows and squashes, it’s still perfectly possible to grow them in a vertical garden. The secret is building in the support structure strong enough to support the weight of the fruits.
This can be done in many ways depending on the plants being grown. A common vertical growing technique is to attach a trellis to a wall immediately above the container where the plants are growing, and to train the plants by weaving the stems into the trellis as it grows.
Another common and easy method of vertical growing for things like beans is to make a kind-of wigwam shape with bamboo sticks stuck into the container, and tied at the top.
Ready-constructed tomato cages or spirals are a good example of the type of supports that are readily available on the market for your tomato plants. I have recently been let to believe that tying tomato plants to straight bamboo sticks can hinder the growth of the plant and give lesser crop, so it may be worth looking into these alternatives.
Communal Wall Method
You could have a vegetable garden layout featuring a selection of containers and pots bunched together that contain climbing plants.
You can make a free-standing climbing wall structure simply by using two upright poles joined together with either wire mesh, garden netting or lengths of wood or bamboo.
The structure can be moved to a position above the pots so they can all climb onto it from both sides.
It’s best to position the wall so that it takes the best advantage of the sun as it tracks across the sky throughout the day.
In these two pictures I have constructed a very basic pergola-style framework consisting of some lengths of wood. The two sides running North to South have nets attached for the plants to grow on, the other two sides will be left open as a walk-through.
The interesting thing about this vertical gardening arrangement is the way the nets have been applied.
At the base of both walls I have added spacers (see red circle), allowing me to attach not one, but two separate climbing nets; thus effectively giving me two separate growing walls on each side of the pergola. That’s four growing walls in total, effectively doubling my growing space and yields!
The pergola is spaced wide enough to enable both climbing walls facing East to get the sun during the first 6-8 hours of the day, and both climbing walls facing West to get the sun for the rest of the day.