Vertical Gardening takes you up up and away

a-colourful-presentation-of-vertical-gardens-taipei-taiwanIn a previous post on gardening trends, I touched briefly on vertical gardens. In this post we will dig (no pun intended) a little deeper into this trend in gardening. Ok let’s be realistic, chances are your vertical garden is NOT going to look like the one in this picture. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be beautiful and add charm and interest to your living space.


1. What is vertical gardening?

Vertical gardening is the utilization of various techniques to “train” Plants to grow upward rather than along the surface of the garden. You can use these techniques for flowering plants, greenery or vegetables. There are many varieties of plants that take well to this method.pallet_garden_intro

2. who should use vertical gardening methods?

This answer is simple. Anyone can use these methods! It is ideal for those who have very limited space, but many traditional gardeners are beginning to use this method to expand their growing options. One of the pluses to vertical gardening is weed control. You will not have many invading weeds when using vertical gardening practices, which then limits the hands-on time needed. This is a huge advantage for those who have busy schedules but would love to grow some fresh greens or vegetables.

3. What will I need to begin my vertical garden?

The answer to this varies greatly. Most of the plants will do best with some sort of structure to support them. These structures can be as simple as left over pallets vertical-garden-from-shoe-organizer(click here for instructions), this is a great repurposing project. There are vertical gardening pockets that you can purchase, like wooly pockets, that attach to your walls. Or you can use a canvas hanging shoe bag (pictured here). You must be certain it is breathable canvas not plastic. It needs to be able to drain and have airflow. Another great option is a piece of trellis attached to a wall. You can attach these to a shed if you don’t want it attached to your home. It will actually visually enhance the structure. You can also use your backyard fencing as the prop for vine plants, and an old wooden ladder makes an excellent support for plants like squash or cucumbers. All you need to do is pot the plant and place the ladder over top and allow the plant to climb away.

Herbs and lettuce varieties work very well in the shoe pockets and you can mix in some pretty flowering plants to brighten up the garden. The trellis will work great for vine plants like green beans and cucumbers and peas.

4. How much maintenance is required?

It’s a garden! Gardens needing attention no matter whether they are raised bed, vertical or a traditional garden patch. It will need to be watered regularly, harvested as needed so new growth will happen, compost-fed if you want extra nutrition for the plants,  and it may need some minimal weeding. One plus is no bending to harvest, this may be ideal for an older person who enjoys gardening. The amount of time you spend maintaining it will also depend on how big you made your vertical garden, so keep that in mind when you plan it out.  This is supposed to be an enjoyable project so make it as big or as small as you want. At the end of the growing season, remove all dead stalks and leaves and cover the bed with more compost.RX-DK-VGN09101_vertical-garden_s3x4_lead

5. What else do I need to know?
Make sure you have your garden appropriately supported, keeping in mind you will be adding a lot of weight when the dirt is added. Don’t hammer one nail in or put one 3m sticky hook up and expect your garden to stay vertical!

You will undoubtedly enjoy walking outside and picking your own fresh lettuce and herbs for dinner or perhaps some garden fresh beans. And the enhanced dimensions that this garden will add will no doubt make you happy! So what are you waiting for? GROW up up and away!

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Maria Romano-Trampe'

Maria currently serves on the Board of Directors and as the Docent Council President for the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown PA. She has volunteered thousands of hours at Elmwood to educate the public about conservation and wildlife issues and their global impact, as well as initiating and heading up the collection of tens of thousands of “waste” items that are upcycled through a program called Terracycle each year, ensuring the reduction of waste in landfills. Her full-time employment is as the Director of Operations and Finance at Fromer & Gross Orthodontics. A premier Orthodontic practice in Pottstown Pa. Follow me on twitter:

3 comments on “Vertical Gardening takes you up up and away

  1. Jordis Kessler says:

    Thanks for this enlightening article! I now have plans on growing my own dark leafy greens for my green smoothies! I particularly like the idea of the shoe pockets. Well, gotta go! Lots of planting to do…

  2. Teresa says:

    Really beautiful way to garden…and so efficient! great article!

  3. Sam says:

    Ours would definitely look like the first one.

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