When you picture a vegetable garden, the first thing that comes to mind is often large flat planter boxes all spread out filled with lush green plants. You may think that this is the best and only option, but in reality, allowing your vegetables to grow vertically will not only produce more food but also save you time, money, and space.
Growing vegetables vertically produces more food because your plants will have more access to sunlight, air circulation, and more room to grow. By adding Mittleider T-Frames, trellises or using hanging planters, your garden can grow vertically to save space, use less soil, and take less time to maintain.
Many vegetables work well for vertical gardening. Some include cucumbers, beans, smaller squashes, peas, and tomatoes. There are a variety of fruits as well, such as grapes and strawberries, that can grow vertically as well. Any plant that has long vines that can creep up a trellis, or drape over a hanging pot will work! Just keep in mind the weight of the final produce, as some will need supports or slings to keep them on the vine if they are hanging.
More Access to Sunlight
All types of plants need plenty of sunlight to grow. Allowing each part of your plant to have equal access to that sunlight can prove challenging for plants that have winding vines and large leaves. But by growing your garden vertically, you can allow sunshine to reach all the necessary parts of the plant helping it produce more food.
More Access to Water
Plants that are growing vertically are all up off of the ground and away from the roots. Long vines and leaves that are held up on trellises or lattices will leave plenty of space for the roots to soak up water and maintain good soil. This will help your plant thrive and also conserve water.
When plants grow in confined spaces, they are more susceptible to pests and diseases. Layers of vines can become quite dense and hard to see if the vines are staying healthy and well. Air circulation will prevent too many pests and diseases from taking over your gardens. Vines that are all spread out on trellises will have plenty of airflow and keep them healthy and producing well.
More Space to Grow
Trellises also allow for your plants to spread out while growing instead of crowding into each other or against the ground. Plants that have ample space to grow will not be limited and can actually produce more food, giving you a beautiful and bountiful harvest.
In addition to your individual plants having more room, you will also have more space to add in more plants! This is bound to give you more food as your base number of plants goes up. Vining plants that take up a lot of space on the ground can all be redirected upward, leaving you with extra room for more plants.
Other Benefits of Vertical Gardening
Producing more food in general may be enough of a reason to grow your plants vertically, but there are many other benefits to adding height to your garden that you should consider.
Less Square Footage Than Regular Gardening
By incorporating Mittleider T-frames, trellises, hanging pots, climbing walls, and stacked growing boxes you can turn any small garden space into a much larger area. There are many new products you can purchase that can help you go vertical with your garden, or you can stick with building your own from wood and string or wire. Just make sure you do not stack things too much that you limit the sunshine for the bottom rows!
Easier to Harvest
Nothing is worse than combing through your tomato plants and finding a whole section of overripe tomatoes that you didn’t see! Thick layers of plants make it hard to see what you have growing and harvest it right at the right time. By having everything off of the ground, your food will be hanging right where you can see and harvest it right when it’s ready. Your days of stooping and straining could be over by having everything hanging in the palm of your hand.
This is also a very accessible way to garden if you are in a wheelchair or cannot get on the ground easily. Bringing the produce up to you will help you enjoy your time in the garden more.
Over the course of your garden, you are going to have many costs including soil, plants, water, vertical supplies, fertilizer, and more. Having a vertical garden may cost more up front to get any trellises or hanging planters, but you will save money on soil and water over the lifetime of your garden.
Less Water Usage
Water is a precious commodity and should be conserved where possible. Watering your garden is essential to keeping it alive, but can also add up to a lot of water when it covers a lot of ground and you are watering it all. There are small hoses and systems you can put into place to conserve water by targeting the roots in large gardens, but unless you have one you are probably using a hose to water your plants and the soil. Vertical gardening conserves water because there is less soil used and less soil to water.
Right along with using less water, growing your vegetables vertically will save you time taking care of the weeds between the plants. When vining plants grow along the ground, they take up a lot of extra space on the dirt where weeds can easily grow. Limit the amount of ground as well as the weeds by growing your plants upward instead of outward.
Beautiful, Creative, and Fun!
Growing plants vertically adds new layers and creative options for your garden. You can work from top to bottom by adding hanging baskets on a porch, under the deck, around a pergola, or even on a garden stake or shepherd’s hook. This will bring your plants up to eye level and create a beautiful, inviting atmosphere in your garden.
Arched trellises are beautiful options for adding height and personality to your garden. Long vining cucumber or bean plants work well on arches and make your produce easy to find and harvest!
Another way to add layers is to bring plants up from the ground. This is done by using trellises, latices, fences, or even the side of your house. Vining plants can climb up just about anything, so you can get creative on what you use. You can also use ladder planters or A-frame planters that can stand alone or even lean against your house. If you are even a tiny bit handy, you can build your own simple stands with basic materials and tools, or you can buy metal or more elaborate trellises at your local home improvement stores.
If you are short on space or enough sunlight, you can get creative! One option to maximize space is turning old rain gutters into gardens. This is an inexpensive way to add some color and fun to your fences or side of your house. Check out my post here to learn how to do it!
Another creative option is to start bucket gardening! This is great for tiny spaces, extra spots that square planters won’t fit, or for a portable garden that can stay in the sun! Ready my post here for a full walk through on how to start your own bucket garden and what to plant.
Vertical gardens give you more color! Raised garden beds, trellis frames, and even rain gutter gardens can be painted, adding more color and vibrancy to your gardens and your yard in general.
By creating a beautiful garden you love, you will naturally spend more time pruning, watering, and nurturing your plants. That alone can help your garden produce more food.