Think you don’t have space to garden? You don’t need to be limited by square footage. Vertical gardening — the use of trellises and structures — can greatly expand the space for more plants, whether they’re flowers or vegetables.
Gardeners have been applying the principles of vertical gardening for years. But in the resurgence in gardening, this age-old concept has been forgotten. Maybe our imagination has been limited, as we fail to fully understand how going up can help increase our return and enjoyment.
Structures used to support plant growth can be as varied as what we grow on them. Traditional cages and structures may be too utilitarian for some. This would include the classic tomato cage made from wire.
But tomato supports can be used for more than just our favorite summer vegetable: the cages can support other tall or vining crops such as sugar snap peas, pole beans, cucumbers and melons. Instead of letting these space hogs crowd the ground, force them to grow upward.
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Need to fill up a blank space in the garden or along a walk or fence? These cages can also support a number of climbing vines and other perennials and annuals that tend to flop. These structures bring height and interest into the garden.
There are also a number of upgrades for a more glamorous look. Wrought iron or wooden obelisks and trellises can add not only a much needed vertical element but more interest. These structures can be a tad more expensive but may be worth the investment.
Vertical gardening is not limited to in-ground beds. Adding an obelisk or structure to a container creates more interest and allows for a wider variety of plants to be used. Vegetables can grow nicely in a container using height support. Cucumbers, for example, can be productive in a pot with a simple structure to vine on. Your imagination is the only limitation when it comes to vertical gardening.
In fact, sometimes an artful obelisk structure may not need plant material at all. The placement of a taller structure can add height and beauty while bringing a new dimension to the garden space, making it pop. A simple structure becomes art instead of a support for plants.
This spring, when planning the landscape, look up and see how adding a vertical element can expand the beauty of the garden while using the space more productively. It’s easy to add this new twist to the garden.