Vertical Gardening

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Short on space in your garden? Here are a few ideas by Diane Relf, Extension horticulturist and Alan McDaniel, associate professor, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech.


Vertical Gardening
Using trellises, nets, strings, cages, or poles to support growing plants constitutes vertical gardening. This technique is especially suited, but not limited, to small garden spaces. Vining and sprawling plants, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, and pole beans are obvious candidates for this type of gardening. Some plants entwine themselves onto the support, while others may need to be tied. Remember that a vertical planting will cast a shadow.
Beware of shading sun-loving crops, but plant shade-tolerant crops near the trellises to take advantage of the shade. Plants grown vertically occupy much less space on the ground, and though the yield per plant may be (but is not always) low, the yield per square foot of garden space is high. Because vertically growing plants are more exposed than non-staked plants, they dry out quickly and may need to be watered frequently. This fast drying is an advantage to those plants susceptible to fungus diseases. Several examples of vertical gardening structures are shown below.

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