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How to Grow a Vertical Vegetable Garden for Small Spaces

Isi has enjoyed indoor gardening, container gardening, and vertical gardening for the past few years, growing herbs, veggies & flowers.


How To Grow Your Own Healthy Food

Aside from being exceptionally easy and great-looking, vertical gardens provide a solution to the difficulty of finding healthy food. They are also advantageous because they can be grown in far less space than an in-ground garden. Maintenance is relatively easy, which is especially helpful for people who are busy or for those who have physical limitations. Vertical gardening is also a great way to incorporate more fresh and healthy vegetables into your diet.

Traditionally, having a garden meant spending a lot of time and effort preparing the ground, fertilizing, raking, hoeing and stooping over to pull weeds. But when the garden grows upward, these chores are nearly non-existent. There are a number of ways that an upright, or vertical garden can be configured but whatever design you choose, there is no plowing or hoeing needed.


How to Grow Vegetables In A Vertical Garden

In one of its simplest forms, a vertical vegetable garden could consist of some large planters on the porch with a trellis for each one. Vegetables that grow on vines, such as green beans, tomatoes or squash, would be trained to grow up the trellises, instead of along the ground. Simply watch as the plants grow, and gently place them on the trellis as they put forth new growth.

There are many other ways to build vertical gardens and many people have gotten quite creative with the concept. The materials and set up for an upright garden does not have to be expensive. If you wanted to go all out, you could choose a more complex and interesting arrangement.

More complex systems include hydroponic gardens and aquaponic systems that include fish. I personally have a couple of miniature hydroponic systems, and they work wonderfully. We are currently growing cherry tomatoes in one, and herbs in another. They grow right on the kitchen counter.

Not only will your vertical garden be beautiful, it will also provide you with healthy, inexpensive food, and the enjoyment of growing something with your own hands. If you have children, they will enjoy gardening too. They can learn a lot from watching the plants grow and produce vegetables. Gardening is very enjoyable for all ages, and can even be enjoyed by those whose mobility is limited.

AeroGarden Hydroponic Garden System For Indoor Gardening

Vertical Gardening Video

How To Build Vertical Gardens With Simple Materials

To get a taste of vertical vegetable gardening, start with a very basic idea that goes a little beyond the planter and trellis system. Chicken wire, either plastic or metal, can easily be obtained at a local hardware or farm store. Securely stretch it between two upright wooden poles using zip ties, or a staple gun. The poles can be anchored in soil in large containers or planters. As the plants grow, you would watch for new growth, and simply guide the tendrils by placing them onto the fencing.

Another very basic option is a bucket garden. This concept requires the use of some supports, such as 1 inch PVC pipe, as well as bolts, and three large buckets, like those you get at the hardware store. Cut one inch holes in the bottoms of the buckets that will go on the top layer, for the poles to go through. Cut four 4 inch holes in the sides of each of the top two buckets, about half way up, spaced evenly apart. Drill a few small drainage holes in the bottoms of the top two buckets as well.

For the bottom bucket, cut holes in the sides about 6 inches down from the top. Secure the buckets to the poles using the bolts, and leaving an 8 inch gap between the buckets. Use a 6 inch layer of cement in the bucket on the very bottom to strengthen the structure and add weight to the bottom. Set the structure up while the cement is still wet, and provide support until the cement cures.

Finally, fill the buckets with dirt and plant the vegetables in the holes on the sides of the buckets. Use a small layer of gravel on top of the cement in the bottom most bucket to ensure drainage. You can plant most any vegetables In these, and plants like broccoli or flowers could go in the very top. See the diagram for a suggested layout, or come up with your own plan.

How To Make A Vertical Garden With Buckets

Bucket Garden Idea

Bucket Garden Idea

Vertical Gardens on the Walls

Herb and flower gardens can also be planted vertically in a frame hung on a sunny wall. This design calls for using a sturdy wall, a board, landscaping material, potting mix and a layered fiber mat. The landscaping material is doubled and stapled to a board. Over that, the fiber matting is rolled out and stapled on. Small, horizontal slits are cut in the fiber mat layer in rows. These will make pockets for planting seedlings. A small amount of potting mix and seeds are placed in each slit. Once everything is planted, the garden gets mounted on the wall.

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Some gardeners have planted beautiful "living walls," on the sides of buildings or even indoors. They can usually be found in certain big cities and are especially popular in Europe. These installations are breathtaking to see, but that is not all. They also improve air quality. In some cases, recycled materials can be used to create masterpieces like these.


Vertical Gardening in Small Containers or Indoors

There are many clever ways to create vertical gardens. You can recycle any plastic container, like a milk jug or soda bottle. Some people have used colorful crocs which are hung on a sunny wall or fence. The containers are filled with potting mix and seedlings. If they are not colorful enough, they can be painted.

Miniature herb gardens can be grown in kitchens, or in any room, using simple growing kits that will fit into small spaces. Some kits have their own built-in lights and digital controls. Others are best if placed in front of a sunny window or on a sun porch. Imagine picking lettuce or fresh vegetables for lunch or dinner in the comfort of your home!

If you put some thought into it, you can come up with your own ideas. Your vertical gardening can be completely organic as well, which would mean that you get to eat fresh, pesticide-free food.

Have you ever done any container gardening, indoor gardening, or vertical gardening? If you have ideas that might help someone, please share those in the comments.

Learn more about Vertical Gardens

Going All the Way with Indoor Vertical Vegetable Gardening

© 2012 Isibane Bergen


Marlene Bertrand from USA on June 13, 2012:

This is such a great idea. I didn't know so many plants could be grown vertically. The video was most helpful in showing exactly how things grow. Excellent hub!

stephensaldana from Chicago on June 13, 2012:

I saw a show not long ago that did a vertical garden. I had never seen them before but what a great way to have your garden even if you don't have a lot of space. Great information!

Isibane Bergen (author) from Western North Carolina on June 13, 2012:

I'm happy it was helpful, Melissa... go for it!

Melissa A Smith from New York on June 13, 2012:

Wow this is cool. How gorgeous! I certainly don't have a lot of space to garden, so this is an idea.

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