Vertical Gardening Increases
Your Garden Space

Vertical gardening started with my green beans.

After picking 7 rows of bush beans all summer my back was killing me and it took months to recuperate.

I was getting older and figured there had to be a better way.

I decided to try pole beans the next year to save bending over during harvest. I was surprised how well the beans grew and how easy they were to pick.

After the first year I was hooked on the vertical vegetable garden!

Winter squash take up so much room that I usually only grow one or two varieties.

With vertical gardening, I was able to grow four varieties including my pie pumpkins and harvest enough squash to share with family, friends and keep us supplied all winter.

Cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, and melons are some of the other vegetables and fruits that can be grown vertically.

Vertical gardening saves space and works great for small space gardens and well as square foot gardens.

Planning Vertical Gardening Space

With vertical gardening your vegetables will grow as tall as 4-7 feet depending on the height of your supports and the variety of vegetable.

To prevent shading and increase sun exposure, locate your rows on the north side of the garden.

Rows oriented east to west will have good south exposure and minimize shading of neighboring rows.

In a square foot garden bed, locate the trellis on the north side of the vegetable garden bed. It is amazing how many more vegetables can be grown on vertical supports.

Cucumbers grow straighter and do not have the yellow spot on the underside.

For wide raised beds the supports are placed on the north side of the row. Smaller plants can be planted on the south side of the row in front of the vertical garden support.

Choosing Supports for Vertical gardening

There are many different types of supports for your vertical vegetable garden. I have used the following in my garden.

  1. 1 x 2 inch Pine furring strips
    Pine furring strips are inexpensive and easy to setup. Plants slide off the furring strips easily in the fall when you are cleaning up for fall and last for several years.
  2. Wire rod panels
    Come in 4ga and 6ga in various sizes. Wire rod panels are a larger investment up front but if taken care of will only be a one time investment. The panels can be cut into smaller sections. I had them cut into 8 foot lengths. I purchased them at our local farm store and the store cut them into sections at no extra cost.
  3. Garden fencing
    Garden fence and poultry wire come in various heights. Cost can vary; the more fencing you buy the less it costs per foot. Fencing is harder to setup and store for the winter. I find the plants harder to remove at the end of the year.
  4. Sting on supports
    String is usually strung up on a support of some kind. It is the least expensive if you use twine, but is time consuming to put up and cannot be reused.
  5. Garden trellises
    Come ready made. Lattes supports come in 4 x 8 foot and 2 x 8 foot panels. The finish varies from vinyl to cedar. Lattes panels are quick and easy to install. This can be a nice option if you are placing your garden by a patio by the house.

Setting up Vertical gardening Supports

What ever support you choose to use for your vegetable garden, setup begins in the spring. After your soil is worked and enriched with compost, mark out and set your rows according to your garden layout.

Your fencing or trellis material will need a support to attach to. Green studded tee posts or u posts come in 4-6 foot lengths. They are easy to install in the spring and come out in the fall with a post remover.

I find these the easiest to use and holds the weight of the plants when they are heavy with fruit. Rod iron and metal conduit is another support material that works well.

Set your vertical supports before you plant your vegetable seeds. Young tender plants are easily damage if your trellis material is put in after planting.

Once your supports are in place you just plant your seeds. As the young plants grow, you train them up the support. I use jute twine to tie the plants on the supports to encourage climbing.

Different vegetables climb better than others. Pole beans don’t need help to climb the support, but winter squash, cucumbers and watermelons can use some guidance. Check out the links to read how-to information for each vegetable variety.

You won’t be disappointed; you’ll soon find all types of vegetables to grow vertical!

› Growing Vertical