Does looking out your balcony door and seeing nothing but buildings and cars make you wish for some more natural scenery?
Have you ever wanted to have fresh garden vegetables at your fingertips, but you thought that it was impossible because you only have a small patio?
Vertical gardening is a way to bring freshness and tasty vegetables to your table, whether you live in the city or have a home with a small yard. Vertical gardening is fun, affordable and flexible, and it can be enjoyed by all ages.
You can vertical garden on a small balcony if the amount of sunlight is good enough. This style of gardening uses less water, less fertilizer and less of your time. You get fewer weeds (and the weeds that you do get are easier to get rid of), and you will have less trouble with pests. Less weeds and pests mean stronger plants, and by growing up instead of on the ground, there is less contact with soil and related diseases. Vertical gardening also encourages better air circulation.
The amount of sunlight you are able to get will determine what vegetables will do the best in your environment. If your potential garden spot is in the middle of buildings or other balconies and patios, keep this in mind when choosing vegetables.
If you have an area with limited sunlight, you’ll find that lettuce, cabbage and other types of greens will do well. For areas with a good amount of sun, the selection of vegetables you can plant grows larger. The following vegetables grow well in full sun: peppers, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, potatoes and beans.
To grow a vertical garden, any type of container can be used or re-used as long as there is good drainage. Vine plants grow well vertically if the container the plant is in is deep enough. They need a proper stake system, and to be potted with peat moss and a compost or manure mix.
Types of Vertical Gardening Set-Ups
Most plants grow well in containers. With shelves, you can grow several different types of vegetables and you can arrange however you want. You can go as high as the shelves allow. With this style of vertical garden, you can move the plants every day to make sure they all get enough sun at the same time.
If you use shelves, try using the type with slats. Slats encourage airflow and allow water to drip down from the top shelves to the bottom.
2. Hanging Baskets
You can hang baskets anywhere — on balconies, porches or on many other surfaces. There are many hanging devices available. Vegetables with trailing characteristics do well in hanging baskets.
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This style adds a beautiful garden ambience to balconies. Cherry tomatoes, peppers and sweet potato vine look gorgeous in baskets and tend to grow well in them. Hanging baskets do need to be watered daily, as they often dry out quickly, especially in hot temperatures and dry spells.
This set up is good for support vines and trailing plants. You can use fences as trellises for peas, squash, beans cucumbers and tomatoes. For a varied garden, try using stalks or sunflowers as trellises, too. Trellises are great space makers in a garden. An unused step ladder can be used as a trellis. The rungs can train the vines, while the vegetables grow on the steps. Tomatoes and pumpkins work well on this set-up.
Planning a Vertical Garden
Here is a handy list of supplies to help you prepare for your vertical garden:
- support structures
- seeds or seedlings
- soil and compost
- peat moss
- strips of fabric or twine
- sheets or rags
- garden gloves
- small knife or shears (You do not want to pull vegetables off the vines of a vertical garden, as it can ruin the plants and system. Use a knife or shears to cut the vegetable from the plant.)
You will need to choose an area with a good amount of sun, as most plants needs at least six hours of good sunlight. Next, select the type of structure you want to use in your sunny space. Prepare the soil in the structures and choose the containers for your seeds or plants. Finally, you can plant and water.
There are so many unique ways to design your vertical garden that the possibilities are almost limitless. You can use fencing, gates, wire (chicken wire), netting, ladders and bed frames. Attractive vertical gardens can block undesirable views and create an area of interest in an otherwise boring spot.
Living in a city, or having in a small yard, does not limit your ability to enjoy gardening. With the variety of approaches to vertical gardening, you can still grow and eat your own fresh vegetables.
What are your best tips for vertical gardening? Share them in the section below: