Regardless of the square footage of your garden space, it can produce more when the plants are trellised and trained to grow upwards. The produce will also be bigger and healthier when grown in a vertical garden. Give your plants some above-ground support and get ready to enjoy even more fruits of your labor.
The Secret’s Out
The secret of success behind vertical gardening is really not a secret. It is simply lifting the plants and produce off the soil and away from damaging moisture and pests. Upwards growing plants also receive more sunlight and air circulation, making them healthier and stronger.
There are no rules regarding what to use or how to trellis, just provide some type of support to each plant that is sturdy enough to support the weight of ripening vegetables.
Cucumbers, pole beans, peas and melons send out little curly tendrils that will latch onto anything within reach and grow in that same direction, To get them to grow vertically, use support methods that provide something for the tendrils to reach up to and small enough for them to grip. Cane poles, corn stalks, metal or wood fence posts, wire fencing or an old metal bed stead work great in the garden to support plants.
How to Trellis
An easy method that I use is to install a length of four-foot tall fencing on fence posts down the middle of a garden row, then stagger-plant climbing vegetables on either side. Cucumbers, beans and peas do very well with this vertical growing method, as do tomatoes and peppers which need to be staked and tied during the growing season.
Melons and pumpkins have a better chance of reaching maturity and engorging to prize-winning proportions when kept off the garden soil, but their size makes that task challenging. An old set or metal bed springs, metal bedstead or wooded pallets solves the problem. Place them on the soil so the vines and developing melons can grow on top and off the soil. While not exactly vertical, it meets the criteria of keeping the developing produce off the moist soil and out of the reach of most pests.
When creating a support trellis, bear in mind the need to reach through the trellis to harvest the produce and the need for crop rotation the following season which means the trellis may need to moved.
Tomato Cages and Pantyhose
Every home gardener needs a good supply of tomato cages and pantyhose for use in a vertical garden. Cages are only good for small tomato plants, but they are great for keeping peppers, eggplants and peonies off the ground.
Cut one-inch thick strips of pantyhose to tie up tomatoes and anything else that needs tied in the garden. The nylon fabric is strong, yet has enough ‘give’ to it to allow plants to move without being cut in two. Place Seven dust in foot of pantyhose and shake over plants if needed and tie up scoops of cow manure to steep in water and make cow manure tea to feed to your vertically growing garden plants.