Grow your own future: Consider vertical elements in the garden

Columnist Patricia Hanbidge encourages gardeners to learn new techniques now to be more effective next year.

This is the ideal time of year when those with a thirst for gardening knowledge can take some time to broaden their knowledge base – to learn new techniques that will make gardening more efficient and effective for the next year!

It’s a time when gardeners take a moment to say – where is my garden going next spring?

I encourage you to “reach for the sky and go vertical!” You may be wondering what I mean by vertical gardening, which simply utilizes vertical space rather than relying on the horizontal, which is the more traditional way of gardening gardening is.

Going vertical gives you more space, but it’s also a way of making your garden more attractive and approachable. Imagine picking strawberries while standing up straight – instead of crawling across the ground.

If you’re an avid garden lover, then vertical gardening has even more benefits. The fruit or vegetable you harvest will be cleaner because it is not in direct contact with the ground. You will also find that you lose less fruit/vegetables to moisture and rot again due to less direct contact with the soil.

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The air circulation is definitely better and every breeze blows through the plants that stand vertically.

The only downside with the vertical orientation is that you may need to water more frequently. However, maybe now is the ideal time to install a simple watering system that suits your personal needs!

From the perspective of someone who was rural and is now urban, adapting to a much smaller space and still managing to grow whatever is desired is a challenge. How do you best use the space you have? One solution that is definitely worth trying is vertical alignment.

Any plant that is a sprawler, natural climber, or stake plant can easily be grown vertically—with the right support.

Vertical elements can be used as working functions of the garden. They work well to screen off awkward areas in the landscape; may provide shade or shelter from the wind; can soften strong vertical surfaces; can define areas of use in the garden and ensure movement.

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Some easy plants to use for your vertical garden are: Cucumber, Vetch, Tomato, Melon, Pea, Runner Bean, Black-Eyed Susan, Morning Glory, Climbing Snapdragon, Hyacinth Bean, Nasturtium, Passion Flower, Grape, Virginia Creeper, Hop and more!! !

Just make sure you supply the appropriate structure and remember that some plants will need to be tied to the structure while others will intertwine to the support.

There are so many ways in the vegetable garden that vertical gardening can be beneficial. As we all become more avid food gardeners, space always seems to be more limited. Growing one of our vine plants tall is an easy way to grow more in less space.

Growing all those pumpkins, squashes, and melons that would otherwise take up lots of horizontal garden space is certainly a space saver. However, all fruit with weight will need extra support to keep it properly on the vine.

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Personally I prefer to grow my cucumbers vertically as they are easier to pick and stay much cleaner when they are off the ground. Because they are also smaller, no additional support is required for the fruit itself.

Keep an eye out for more information on some of the other vertical plants we may be growing in our garden in the coming weeks.

Patricia Hanbidge is the Senior Gardener at Orchid Horticulture. Find us at; by email to [email protected]; on facebook @orchidhort and on instagram under #orchidhort.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.

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