Introduction: Hello Gardeners today we have a great information of vertical gardening for vegetables. Who doesn’t wants to be surrounded with lush green plants and fresh delicious vegetables!!. But on the same frame question is, are you confined to an apartment dwelling with limited space for gardening? Do you wish to raise a vegetable garden, but feel you don’t have space for it? If so, then I have a great solution for you. While limited spaces of city life can be frustrating for the urban gardener, growing a vegetable garden is anything but not possible. In fact, with a little planning and imagination, vegetable gardens can be raised anywhere, regardless of the space by using vertical gardening.
A step by step guide to vertical gardening for vegetables
A vertical vegetable garden is an easy way to enhance growing space, trims down insect and disease problems, and redecorate decks and patios. One can use structures like trellises, stakes, and even simple wires for supporting the containers. With a little creative thinking, you can also grow edibles on your walls and fences, or create your own vertical space with just hanging baskets or pallets. What are we waiting for, let us get some ideas of vertical gardening for vegetables.
Reasons to grow vertically
- Save space: Vertical vegetable gardening saves you a lot of space. Vegetables like cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squash require a large amount of ground space. While the same melon trained vertically will take only one or two square feet of the ground.
- Avoid pests and disease: Crops growing on the ground are more prone to the attack of Slugs, snails, and other pests; it is much more difficult for them to go up on trellises or strings. Crops growing on the ground come in contact with the wet soil which can cause rot or disease. If attacked diseases and pests get noticed earlier on plants growing at eye level, so quick remedial actions can be taken right away.
- Protection and garden beauty: Vertically growing vegetables crawl out across the support and flourish well. Grown-up leaves protect ripening vegetables from sun and wind effects. A leafy trellis or fence can shield the garden from prevailing breezes and even help you block out unwanted views of neighbouring property or compost piles.
- Easy maintenance: Plants growing vertically are more accessible, and gardening activities like planting, weeding, feeding, and harvesting become much easier.
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Prefer choosing vining varieties but why?
Vertical gardens make use of garden space efficiently and help you produce more food per square foot. The difficulty is that building a vertical garden sturdy enough to hold up all of your vegetables involves construction skills and supplies, which not all gardeners possess in abundance.
Vining fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are simple to the trellis. This means that you can grow vegetables like carrots and lettuce at the bottom of your vertical garden and vining varieties closer to the top, saving you the effort of lifting heavy bags of soil and backache.
The orientation of your vertical garden is important
Most vegetables require full sun, or at least 5-6 hours of bright light to grow their best. Unless they have adequate light for photosynthesis, they cannot manage to make food themselves. The orientation of your vertical garden determines the quantity of light each plant receives.
An A-frame vertical garden set up in full sun outdoors helps you grow maximum food in minimum space since you can grow plants all over around the frame. It should seem like two wide ladders propped against each other, the steps of the ladder supporting different levels of planting.
If you are planning to arrange the garden against a wall, choose south or south-western exposure to grow high-light demanding plants. The abundant morning light received in eastern exposure may be a sufficient amount for root vegetables, herbs, and greens.
If your vertical garden does not receive sufficient natural light, supplement with artificial lighting. When using overhead lighting, arrange high-light veggies on the top shelves and the others at lower levels as per their light requirements.
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Favourite vegetables for vertical gardening
Almost any vegetable that can become accustomed to containers and can be accommodated in a vertical garden, but some veggies seem to do better than the others. Produce more of them to get the best out of your efforts.
Vines that have a climbing habit are nature’s own design of vertical gardening. These sun lovers climb grow towards the light on any available support, be it another plant, a trellis, fence or wall. They will definitely thrive in a vertical garden whether you cultivate them in containers or bury their roots in the ground, with the aerial parts scaling the vertical frame or trellis.
There are some vines that develop along the ground, but most of them can be adapted to growing on trellises that are tough enough to support their weight. Some of them have heavy fruit that requires additional support as well, but keeping them off the ground has definite advantages. It prevents them from rotting at the point where they touch the ground. It also makes it easier to track their growth and to harvest them when they are matured.
Brassica family vegetables
These cruciferous vegetables are very much susceptible to pests, especially the caterpillars of the cabbage butterflies that do great damage to all members of this family. Pest control is much more effective and easy when these vegetables are grown vertically because infestations are simply noticed, starting with the eggs that are hidden under the leaves and the young caterpillars that emerge. You can even use nets to cover the vertical arrangement, preventing the cabbage butterflies from their laying eggs.
Vegetables belonging to Family Solanaceae
Eggplant or brinjal.
Root and bulb vegetables
Root and bulb vegetables have compacted top growth and medium-light requirement, so they adapt very well to vertical gardening as long as you provide a sufficient amount of growing medium for their root growth. You can grow them in individual pots or grow bags, or in long rows, if you can find rain gutters deep enough.
Green leafy vegetables
Greens are the ideal plants for growing in a vertical garden, especially those with low growing habits. They welcome their raised growing position which facilitates more air circulation and prevents the lower leaves from touching the ground and decaying. Vertical gardening also prevents greens like spinach from getting suffocated by weeds. Harvesting is much easier too. Instead of pulling up the entire plant, you can pick mature leaves for the rack and when required, allowing the plants to continue growing for a much longer period.
Microgreens and baby greens
These are immature stages of edible seedlings just after the germination. They are nutritionally superior compared to their mature counterparts, but unlike sprouts, they are leafy plants requiring good amount of light. Perhaps they would provide you the maximum nutritional output from the minimum possible space, whether you cultivate them vertically or not. That’s because they get ready in a matter of days or weeks, and you can have subsequent batches back to back all through the season, or even all year in sheltered areas or indoor too.
Vertical garden shelves are ideal for growing microgreens and baby greens because they need frequent sowing and harvesting. Only the top growth is harvested, and that is usually done by snipping off simply with scissors as and when required, so you can imagine how advantageous it is to have them growing at a convenient height.
You can plant almost any type of edible seed to raise microgreens, but some favourites are:
You can simply buy different seeds of your choice or get pre-packaged selections like rainbow mix, spice mix, Asian greens mix, fiery mix etc.
Herbs are typically used in very small quantities, so allowing them a lot of space in a garden does not make sense. By growing them in a vertical arrangement of 3-4 levels, your herb garden can be limited to a single stand saving you a lot of space. Besides, you will have them all in one place, and as close to the kitchen as you want.
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