March 2014 Newsletter (vol.27)   >>   Is Vertical Gardening RIght for You?

 

 

Winter is on the way out and spring is fast approaching, it is time to think about new additions to your gardens. Whether you have a garden of flowers or vegetables, new ideas are always of interest. Something that might strike interest is vertical gardening. Vertical gardening is a technique for growing plants on a vertical surface like a wall or trellis. Vertical gardening is becoming increasing popular for people with a small patio, a homeowner’s backyard, walls of businesses and much more.

 

Vertical gardening has many benefits for the user as well as the surrounding area:

 

  • Maximizes limited space: Increases the growing space when you are in a very tight area

  • Use vertical structures like arbors, arches or gazebos to turn an outside area into a garden room

  • Grow a privacy screen: Screen out any unattractive views, like air conditioners, nosy neighbors, sheds or compost areas

  • Increases accessibility: With the plants upright they are easier to prune, harvest and check for insects, which in the long run, saves your back from bending over

  • Healthier plants: Since the plants are off the ground it increases air circulation which results in fewer insect and disease problems

  • Enhances visual appeal: Improves the curb appeal of any home or business by adding hanging baskets or window boxes

  • Grow more plants: Increase the number and varieties of plants grown in your garden

  • Obtain a higher crop yield: Obtain a more productive harvest by growing the plants upward

  • Reduces the impact of an urban environment: Soften the hard edges of buildings and camouflage the surfaces

  • Defines a space: Create a space that can be functional for entertaining as well as growing vegetables and flowers

  • Creates a micro climate: Use a trellis, tepee, arbor, arch or any other upward structure to make a shade location for shade loving plants

  • Improves air quality and your health: Plants improve air quality, both indoors and outdoors by removing volatile organic compounds and absorbing pollutants, which in turn, can make you healthier

 

As vertical gardening continues to increase in popularity, there are many ways to garden vertically. Easy to assemble vertical gardens, elevated garden beds, modular raised garden beds and raised bed brackets can be used with vertical supports and are great for the first time vertical gardener or the professional that would like to expand. They allow for more space and are different sizes to fit any location that you may have. Trellises can add height and beauty to any vertical garden and come in many colors and varieties. You can also add other plant supports like cages or hoops. If you would like to start out a bit smaller and slowly grow your vertical garden, maybe try adding a hanging basket or two to your location. By adding a few hanging baskets you could add more curb appeal and increase your growing potential.

 

Once you know how much space you have and which type of vertical garden fits your needs, the next step is choosing what plants to use. If you would like to start your plants from seed, use the Hummert Seed Catalog, to find seed that appeals to you. Whether you are growing from seed or buying plants, try looking for plants that have a vining growth habit, not bush types. There are certain tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, melons, gourds, squash and pumpkins that can be used with a trellis or other supports in your vertical garden. If you are thinking about growing anything that has a larger fruit there is no need to cradle the fruit if using a trellis, the plant will grow a strong enough stem to support the fruit. There are certain flowering plants like mandeville, clematis, certain rose varieties and much more that can be planted and used with a trellis. Remember, choosing the right plant(s) is important so you can get the most from your vertical garden.

 

If you are trying to add to your garden and don’t have a lot of square footage to do so, vertical gardening is your answer. Vertical gardening has many benefits for you to create a unique surrounding that you can enjoy with ease of access, regardless of your location or how much space you may have. The options and ideas are endless, just put your imagination to work and let the vertical garden flourish.

 

Sources:

"Benefits of Living Walls"
“Vertical Gardening"
“Vertical Gardening Makes the Most of a Small Garden Footprint” 
"Benefits of Vertical Gardening"