If you haven't heard of vertical gardening, it's time for you to jump on the bandwagon! This method of growing plants and produce isn't exactly new (consider the Gardens of Babylon, for exampe), but it's become more popular in recent years for both aesthetic and practical purposes. Going vertical is an especially great way to experiment with hydroponic gardedning, which is the practice of growing plants without soil. Even if you prefer to stick to growing plants in soil, vertical gardening is a convenient method that can cost little to no money to start. Are you convinced yet? Read on to find out more!
What are the benefits?
1. With vertical gardening, monitoring and controlling pests is easier. The plants are right in front of your face, which allows you to spot signs of decay and pest activity more easily and quickly.
2. Your yield per square foot will increase since you'll be able to fit more in a vertical garden.
3. Taking away the need to hunch over, bend, and kneel makes harvesting much easier.
4. Since the fruits and veggies are right at eye level, they won't be able to hide under other plants. You'll be able to catch them at their prime ripeness.
5. Elderly gardeners and those with disabilities benefit greatly from vertical gardening since the physical exertion is less than traditional soil gardening.
What can I grow in a vertical garden?
Basically, you can plant any non-bush fruit or vegetable smaller than a volleyball. Examples of produce are tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, pole beans, squash, and mini pumpkins. Pretty much any flower or plant you grow in a traditional garden will thrive in a vertical one as well.
Where do I construct my vertical garden?
Almost any wall will do. In fact, vertical gardening is a great way to hide a particularly ugly wall! If the plants you want to grow have specific care instructions, be sure the wall you choose is located in a prime spot for those growing conditions.
How much money will I need?
This really depends on how fancy you want your garden to be. There are several methods that require different materials. If you want to build a complete, irrigated system, you'll need: a frame built of PVC pipe (Don't use metal or wood because of extra expense, weight, and possible rusting or rotting.) plastic sheeting fabric (Basic felt carpet padding works well.) galvanized screws stainless steel staples automatic irrigation system with a timer set to seconds If you don't want to get this far into it, there are simpler, cheaper methods. You can buy pockets especially designed for vertical gardening at most hardware or gardening stores. Pot hangers with polypropylene support clamps are also available for purchase. These are specially designed to endure high winds and weight. You can also go the green, free method by using found objects like rain gutters, burlap bags, shutters with wide slats, etc. If you're using a solid material, make sure to drill drainage holes; and if you're planting edibles, be sure the materials are non-toxic.
Have you had experience with vertical gardening? Have you tried hydroponic gardening? Tell us about your nontraditional gardening experiences in the comments below!