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Has anyone ever tried "vertical gardening"? I am very excited to try this. I have a small balcony and love gardening and this sounds like the answer to my problem.
By Tammy from Parry Sound, ON
Vertical gardening is exactly what it sounds like: gardening vertically rather than horizontally, as we normally do.
It's ideal for those with limited space who garden in a small yard or on a terrace, deck or patio, but it also can be used effectively by any gardener who is interested in experiencing different types of gardening.
You can use fences, walls, trellises, arbors, pergolas and many different types of containers to garden vertically. As you add lush, draping plants, you can't help but appreciate the sense of artistry that vertical gardening can bring to the landscape.
A vertical garden creates privacy and helps hide unattractive views. It also can cool off your landscape and help shade your property. It allows you to grow more plants with less space while offering excellent air circulation for those plants. You'll be able to enjoy your tomatoes and cantaloupes ripening at eye level.
And plants suited for vertical gardening tend to have less disease because some pests don't climb vertically. Another bonus: You won't have to weed vertical gardens as frequently because you'll be using less soil.
Vertical gardening also allows people with disabilities or those who can't bend or kneel to continue gardening.
Ready to get started? Here are several structures that are ideal for vertical gardening:
Fences. These are a great way to make use of upward-growing plants, especially climbers and those that have tendrils. And if your fence is unsightly, vertical gardening is a great way to hide it.
Trellises. These structures stand alone and can be made of wood, metal, stone, bricks, plastic or even PVC.
Arbors or pergolas. There are many styles and materials from which to choose, and these structures can either stand alone or be attached to your house. My rule of thumb is that all outside gardening structures should complement the style of your home.
Lots of plants work well in a vertical garden, including the following:
Vegetables. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, winter squash and gourds are perfect choices. Some of these plants will entwine themselves around your structure of choice, while others will need to be tied to it for support. Another ideal vegetable is corn because it needs a lot of vertical space to flourish. One of the benefits of growing corn is that you can plant other veggies along with it, such as beans and zucchini, and use the corn stalks as a supporting structure. You'll get double the harvest, and it will look beautiful.
Vines. A vertical flowering vine can add beauty to your landscape. Plus, it will attract birds and butterflies to your garden for you to enjoy. Morning glory, clematis, climbing rose, honeysuckle vine, sweet potato vine and cardinal climber are good choices.
Fruits. The larger fruits -- melons and pumpkins -- can be trained to grow vertically and can be supported with old pantyhose, strips of cloth or, depending on the size of the fruit, heavy rope. Tie them loosely to avoid damaging the vines. Grapes and kiwi fruit also grow well vertically. Good luck.