Vertical gardens are becoming a popular way of growing vegetables and fruits. For those who live in apartments or only have a small yard, vertical gardens can grow plenty of food without sacrificing what little yard space is available. However, vertical gardens are also an efficient method for those who do not want to spend their time bending over or sitting on the ground to work with their plants and for those who may have physical limitations. On land where a regular type garden is acceptable, it also gives gardeners the option of utilizing the land more efficiently, along with providing some protection from certain plant diseases, animals, and insects.
Growing vegetables requires selecting those that will do well growing up or down. Tomatoes including cherry tomatoes, all varieties of peppers, pole beans, vining crops like squash, cucumbers, small pumpkins, zucchini, eggplants, melons, along with raspberries and grapes make excellent choices for vertical gardening. Almost any trailing or vine crop will work, whereas bushy plants are less likely to flourish and will not take advantage of upright growing. It is important to note that this is a very incomplete list and other choices are as simple as researching vegetables and other plants that you enjoy.
Trellis, arbors, fences, hanging baskets or buckets, tripods, tall stakes, wire cages, shelving, and supports made from cording or wire are all acceptable as growing mediums for your plants. Items such as netting and heavy-duty rubber bands come in handy for extra support for individual vegetables. Although many of these items can be purchased at gardening centers, most of them can be made from items found at home or that can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of something ready-made. A simple arbor or trellis can be made using two by fours and galvanized chicken wire. Chicken wire can also be folded into cages, lined with straw, filled with garden soil, and planted with any vegetable, even potatoes. They can be hung up, or with lids attached, stacked on the ground.
Trellis and arbors do not have to be fancy, but they do need to be strong enough to support the weight of the plants and the vegetables they produce. Containers can be made out of almost anything when sufficient drainage is supplied by drilling a few holes in the bottoms, such as when using buckets of almost any size. It is important to use cording or wire that is strong, is resistant to effects of weather and excess moisture, and must be securely anchored at both the top and bottom.
Tripods should be made with the legs spread apart and can be anchored with stakes to keep them from tipping in strong winds. The legs can be used for vining plants while containers can be hung from the apex of the tripod. The extra weight in the center also provides more stability. Shelving can be constructed with as many levels as desired and so that each shelf is open to sun and rain. The possibilities are as endless as the types of vegetables or fruit you wish to grow.
It is also easy to grow vegetables “upside down”. Any container that can be hung up, only needs a small hole around an inch in diameter and large enough to insert a vegetable plant (such as cherry tomatoes) drilled into the bottom or, an opening created in a cloth or other heavy duty material. Fill with your favorite garden soil and hang it from hooked connected to a support (such as a beam) or suspended from wire fastened between posts.
Vertical gardening is easy to do, require less space than conventional gardens, and can grow from a small experiment into the only way you will ever garden again.
Vertical Vegetable Gardening, Doug Green’s beginner-gardening.com
Hanging Vegetable Garden – What Vegetables Can Be Grown Upside Down, by Gardening Know How
Supports for Climbing Vegetables, by Amy Urquhart, January 23 2008