Vining vegetables such as cucumbers, pole beans, and tomatoes can easily take over a garden and use up precious space, especially in raised beds like mine. My raised beds are 3′x7′ with walkways in between each and left to their own devices, these meandering veggies would leave me with no walk space in which to maneuver in my garden. Not to mention that I would not be able to plant the amount of vegetables that I want because they would wander across all of my soil, leaving little room for other, less imposing veggies. My solution: vertical gardening. There are several benefits to growing vegetables up.
- You can maximize your garden space because it frees up spots for more veggies.
- Fruit is easier to pick because it is off the ground and hanging right there for you.
- Being off the ground keeps the dirt off of what you want to be eating.
- It can lead to better aeration for tomatoes, thus decreasing the likelihood of soil borne diseases.
There are several ways to do vertical gardening and I employ several different methods.
I use tomato “gallows” to string up my tomatoes. I can get six tomato plants in a bed where I could normally only fit four if I were to cage them. My husband and I constructed these gallows from simple 2×3′s and when I planted my tomatoes, I put in a stake next to them with a rope attached. I tied the rope to the crossbar of the seven foot structures. As the tomatoes grew, I continued to wind the rope around each plant.
I made veggie tepees. Using five bamboo poles, I crisscrossed the poles, lashed them together at the top with twine, and wound twine around the outside to give the plants more space to latch on to. I planted four to five pole bean seeds around the base of each one for my bean tower and planted three to four cucumber seeds at the base of each pole for my cuc tower. As the plants grew I wound them around the pole and up the twine until they grabbed on to the pole or the outer twine.
I used wire fence to make a place for cucumbers and peas to climb up. When the cucumbers were growing their first leaves, I poked them through the fence to help them climb. The peas needed no encouragement to scamper up the fence.
Corn became an easy, dual purpose crop. After I planted corn and it came up, I put two pole bean seeds close to the base of each stalk. The beans are crawling up the corn stalks all on their own.
This post is linked up to Homestead Barn Hop.