Vertical Gardening, An Incredible Method of Maximizing Your Garden Space

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Vertical gardening is a unique and practical method of maximizing all of your garden space. When plants such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and melons are left to sprawl on the ground; they will take up to 10 times as much space as growing them vertically. With the exception of tomatoes and pole beans, too few gardeners take advantage of this gardening technique.

In addition to saving space, there are a number of advantages to growing vegetables off the ground.

* They are cleaner and more resistant to disease.
* Plants will not be subjected to soil rot which results from the fruit lying on the ground.
* Many crawling and soil borne insects and pests will not bother them.
* Plants receive good air circulation.
* Vertical gardening can provide privacy and screen off unsightly views.
* Gardener's who find regular gardening physically challenging will enjoy vertical gardening because it eliminates a lot of bending over.

Examples of plants that can be grown vertically:

* Tomatoes
* Acorn squash
* Butternut squash
* Peppers
* Cucumbers
* Sweet and snap peas
* Pole beans and lima beans
* Smaller melons
* Gourds


* Plants require watering more often, so mulch accordingly.

* How high will the plants be at maturity? Keep in mind that you will need to reach them easily, so do not build the support trellis too tall.

* Plan so that the vertical structures are on the north side of the plant beds so as to not shade the plants growing on the ground.

* Hanging baskets can be used with success. If the structure that they hang from is too high, rig up a pulley system to raise and lower the plants making access and watering easier.

The first rule in creating your trellis structure is to make it very strong and solid. It must be able to support the weight of ripe vegetables and also be able to withstand winds of up to 30 miles an hour when the structure is covered in vegetables.

Bamboo and heavy cord for lashing are a good solution. Other materials are pressure treated 2 by 2 lumber or 1 � inch PVC piping and fittings. If using bamboo or PVC; be sure it is strong enough. It is better to over build than to under build.

You will also require a sturdy system of netting or other support upon which the plants will grow. Strong plastic or wire netting can be used. Wood lattice may work for one or two years, but since it is very cheaply built, it will not last very long or possibly collapse under the weight.

After you have seen the advantages of trellis gardening, a permanent support structure can be constructed using metal poles or 2 by 4 lumber firmly set into the ground with supports for the netting or wire which can possibly be made with a material such as stainless steel cable.

Some crops, such as tomatoes and peppers will require some initial care, as you will have to tie them up or wind them around the supports. Other crops such as peas or beans will only require a start and may need periodic help in getting a firm grip.

Gardening Articles:

Dick Murray is a retired urbanite who keeps his passion for gardening alive with pots of herbs on the window sills and the creation of a web site dedicated to vegetable gardening basics. It is not the same as digging in the soil, but it works for him.

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