We have discussed quite a few gardening methods in the recent past. Row, wide row, square foot, and sheet mulching. This article will briefly discuss one of our favorite methods for gardening, vertical gardening.
Vertical gardening is the practice of training your vegetables to grow up instead of out. Many vegetables like corn already grow vertically. Other plants are more like I am when I sit in front of the computer and watch Hulu. They like to spread out as much as possible and make themselves comfortable. Squash, melons, beans, cucumbers, peas and many other plants will spread out along the ground if you let them. The problem is that a lot of urban farmers don’t have the room to let a stubborn melon plant do what it wants. This is where vertical farming comes to the rescue.
With vertical farming you train a plant to grow to the sky and reach heights it never thought possible. You provide them with support in the form of fences, bamboo tripods, trellises, and walls. Here is an example of a bamboo trellis that we used to grow some of our charentais melons a few years ago. As the plant sends out its tendrils, we tied them to the bamboo with used panty hose, or hemp twine.
This picture shows one of the melons. It might seem like the weight of the fruit would be too heavy for the vine and rip the plant. Have confidence in your plants fellow gardeners, they are stronger than you think.
Uncle Dale has a good trellis system that he uses to help his tomatoes grow vertically and not fall over in this video. You could use a system like this for other plants as well.
Advantages of Vertical gardening
- Uses less space than traditional gardening since plants grow up, not out.
- Plants are less likely to rot or be diseased since they are less crowed and there is more air movement around them.
- Produce is easier to harvest since many of the plants are on your level.
- Reduces pest damage since some pests are not vertical climbers.
- Requires more diligence as you have to take time to train and tie your plants up.
- Requires more resources as your will have to buy or salvage materials to make your trellis with.
If you have a limited area for your garden, consider vertical gardening. It is an efficient and beautiful way to garden. If you have gardened with this method what have you found to be the benefits/drawbacks of the method?