source: Rural Spruce
Benefits of vertical gardening
Growing vertically allows you to:
grow more food in less space
harvest cleaner fruits and vegetables
make watering, pruning and fertilizing easier
keep crops off the ground decreasing chance of diseases
grow a natural privacy screen
create a microclimate for more sensitive fruit trees
With these space-saving benefits in mind, let’s jump straight to the list of vegetables, fruits and edible flowers you can start growing vertically.
The use of trellises (handmade or store bought) and pots/containers of all sizes will help you to grow several varieties of edible crops.
Summer and winter squashes
All manner of squashes and gourds can be grown on trellises and fences, even letting them climb on trees. This is possible due their natural vining tendencies.
Certain varieties, when left to sprawl on the ground, can travel 20′ or more! Imagine all the space you can save by training them to grow up.
Prime candidates for trellising are:
patty pan squash
yellow summer squash
sugar pie pumpkin
Keep those enormous non-trailing Black Beauty zucchinis off the ground, sowing their seeds in containers and leave more space for lettuce, radishes, and low-growing herbs.
If you’ve ever had trouble growing a cucumber that is uniformly green all around, chances are good that you should give vertical growing a try.
Skip the yellow spots this year and preserve a jar of pickles that look as if they came from the store.
Canteloupes and watermelons are space hogs in the garden, growing this way and that, crawling over green onions and strangling carrot tops. As hard as you try to reroute their vines, they always seem to manage to redirect their growth when you aren’t looking.
Of course, when growing melons vertically, you will want to choose varieties that are small enough to trellis.
Sugar Baby watermelon (8-10 lb. fruits)
Golden Midget watermelon (3 lb. fruits)
Golden Jenny melon (2 lb. fruits)
Charentais melon (2-3 lb. fruits)
Eden’s Gem melon (2-3 lb. fruits)
Less than 10 lbs. is a good characteristic to aim for, otherwise you will need to invest in slings to support the growing fruit.
Tomatoes come in all colors, shapes and sizes, differing in growing habits too. Some are dwarf and prefer to lay close to the ground, such as mini-cherry varieties, while others are happy to keep climbing as long as there is a support to hang on to.
Perhaps the easiest vegetables to trellis are pole beans. Just don’t try to coax bush beans to grow more than they should – they grow just as their name suggests: in bush form. They could, however, be planted below another climbing plant.
It is good to know that there is more than one way to trellis your beans:
use the Three Sisters technique (planting corn, squash and beans together)
create a bean tipi
make an A-frame with string
weave jute (or other natural twine) between wood posts
let them climb up a hazel or bamboo pole
Trellising both beans and peas are simple. here are some more DIY trellis ideas for both.
Just as with beans, there are two different types: bush peas and climbing peas. Within the climbers are snap peas and snow peas. Peas are incredibly tasty and so easy to grow, children will love to take part of the action too.
Peas that are grown vertically, are healthier than those left to trail on the ground since a trellis offers better airflow around the leaves. This, in turn, helps to prevent mold and mildew from infesting the leaves.
What makes nasturtiums so special, is that they love to climb (8-10′), making them perfect for covering garden fences and trellises with a vibrant burst of yellow and orange summer colors.
Even better yet, the entire plant is edible from flowers to shoots to leaves. It is food, medicine and art all at once. Peppery nasturtiums are a must in every garden, especially if you are wanting to cover an area with a delightful annual that also attracts pollinators to your garden.