Vertical Gardening: How grow more in less space
Vertical gardening may be the answer you’ve been looking for to create a garden in a limited space.
Urban gardening is a hot topic these days. Who wants to buy lettuces or tomatoes that have traveled thousands of miles, losing their freshness and nutritive value, before ending up in our salad? We know that conventionally grown produce found in our grocery stores often has residues of poisonous pesticides and herbicides on our favourite fruits and vegetables. Don’t you shudder at the thought of serving this to your family?
Our own fresh home-grown vegetables are not only fresher and more delicious, more pure and organic – they can actually save you money.
How we as individuals grow our own food is changing. The traditional method of planting long rows in a garden space is one option – but not an feasible for a lot of people. For the many people living in apartments, condos and townhouses, successful vegetable gardening takes a lot of ingenuity.
You don’t have yard space for a garden plot?
There is an alternative planting method that’s gaining in popularity, even with people with lots of room for a garden. With space for growing at a premium, one of the best ways is vertical gardening.
What exactly does that mean? It means making use of vertical space rather than horizontal space, or combining the two. There are lots of ingenious ways to plant and grow a vertical garden.
Ideas for Vertical Gardening
Here are some suggestions to make use of that vertical plane you may never have considered as viable garden space. If you have a wall or a fence to work with, that’s a good place to start with creating your vertical garden.
1. Breathable and strong felt planting pockets, each large enough to hold a single plant, can be attached to your wall by the metal grommets. They’re reusable, and can last for years. You’ll find them on Amazon, or maybe even in your local plant nursery or greenhouse.
2. Use wire to attach terra cotta or plastic pots to a fence or wall. Each one can hold an individual plant.
3. Make a hanging planter with wooden planks that have holes to hold plants. You can easily layer these by separating the planks with knotted rope.
4. Make use of shipping pallets – attach a waterproof back, fill with soil and plant between the slats. These work best if positioned to lean against a wall.
5. Large plastic soda bottles make great small planters. Cut off the bottoms, hang them in series using strong fishing line, fill with soil, and you’ve a vertical garden! Leave the caps in place, but drill a hole for drainage.
6. Use a plastic shoe hanger as a planter – each pocket can hold a small plant. Make a few small holes in the bottom of each pocket for drainage.
7. Mount wood planter boxes right on a wood fence. Attach them checkerboard fashion so there’s room for the plants to grow.
8. Attach sections of rain gutter to a fence or wall, close the ends, fill with soil, and voila! a garden suitable for planting herbs, greens or flowers.
9. Use large pots or planters for vegetables, and make use of trellises and tomato supports to encourage vining plants like beans and peas to grow upwards.
10. Make use of stackable plant pots available commercially. These individual units can be stacked for a vertical garden.
11. The art of espaliering is a perfect way to grow fruit trees in a small yard. Planted next to a wall or fence, the tree is trained to grow on a single plane, by fastening the young plant to a trellis or framework, and pruning to keep the shape. A perfect way to grow apples, pears, or peaches in a small area.
By growing vertically, your plants thrive with better air circulation and exposure to sunlight – resulting in fewer diseases and pest attacks. They are easier to tend to, since you’ll have less bending and kneeling, and much less weeding. Harvesting your produce will also be easier. (Bonus for your back!)
Vertical Gardens Add Beauty and Privacy
Another bonus of vertical gardening not always thought about is the visual impact. Vining plants growing on trellis and arbors can hide ugly views as well as add another visual dimension to your yard, patio or balcony. A fence around a small patio, hung with pots of bright blooms or luscious lettuces is transformed into a private oasis.
A balcony or patio garden can become the ultimate escape from the urban buzz around you. Imagine sitting surrounded by tall tomato plants sporting rich red fruit, lush containers of scented rosemary and basil, or even lemons, figs and oranges grown in containers. The possibilities of growing fruits and veggies off the ground are almost endless, even if you live in the heart of a city.
From simple window boxes to terraces and balconies with your own little bit of personal space, you have the opportunity to green up your environment and be eating delicious organic greens, herbs, vegetables and fruits throughout the year.
Even if you have plenty of room in your yard for a traditional garden, you can make use of the vertical gardening methods discussed here to increase your yields and grow more plants in less space.
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