Discover 16 fruits and vegetables to grow vertically to expand a garden space. A great example is growing cucumbers vertically. Vertical growing plants are healthier and tend to produce more produce. This article provides vertical vegetable garden ideas for gardeners from all walks of life.
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Living in the mountains requires me to be creative with the garden space we have. Not only do we utilize raised beds, we also grow food in containers. Our container garden method is a bit unconventional, but it works quite well for our homestead.
The concept of growing vertically allows our homestead to drastically increase the amount of food we grow. In other words, when your garden space is full the only other option to increase a garden space is to grow vertically.
You would be surprised when it comes time to select what fruits and vegetables to grow vertically. This garden concept has stretched beyond growing peas and beans, here are 16 vertical vegetable garden ideals which do well when grown off the ground.
16 Fruits and Vegetables to Grow Vertically
Growing foods vertically provides many benefits. Not only does it make watering much easier, it also minimizes any pests issues. A vertical veggie garden has the ability to produce more yield than a traditional in ground garden does.
The amount of airflow allowed through the plant will also help to minimize disease. This method also reduces damage caused by pests, rodents and chickens.
Pollination is doubled when plants are allowed to grow vertically, making for a more bountiful harvest. This garden method is also gentler on the back during harvesting time.
Vertical Vegetable Garden Ideas
There are sixteen popular fruits and vegetables which grow quite well vertically. However, let’s not limit vertical gardening to what’s listed here. A garden has no boundaries, be creative when planning the garden, and by all means, don’t be afraid to test the waters with new methods for growing food.
With that said, vertical growing plants are not limited to what is listed here. Take for example a popular Asian vegetable called bitter melon. This variety of summer squash grows exceptionally well in a vertical veggie garden.
The type of trellis to utilize will vary based on how heavy the vegetable is once it has matured. Here are more common trellises used to grow foods vertically:
- cattle panel trellis
- a-frame trellis
- box trellis
- tomato cages
- rope trellis
- split rail fencing
- Greenstalk Garden Tower
Vertical vegetable garden ideas do not have to be practical. For example, a garden tower. This item works exceptionally well as a vertical vegetable garden. The options are almost endless when it comes to what this vertical tower can house.
Garden towers are capable of growing peppers, leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, bush beans, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, and so much more!
Learn more about utilizing the Greenstalk Garden tower, and receive $10 off your total purchase by using the code farmgirl13 at checkout.
Vertical Growing Plants
Melons of all varieties grow on vines, making them an excellent candidate in a vertical vegetable garden. Depending on the type of trellis used, the vines may need initial training.
The following melons are relatively light in weight:
- sugar watermelon
- Canary melon
- golden midget watermelon
Take note, melons, excluding watermelon, can be grown without support. To help with support, plant clips, twine, or garden tape are used to help ensure melons reach maturity and ripen. The heavier the fruit the more support it will need.
There is a long list of winter squashes which can be grown vertically.
- sweet dumpling
- red kuri
Unlike the squash varieties mentioned above, the blue hubbard, turban, and kabocha will need a sling or net to support the weight of the mature squash. An a-frame trellis is structurally sound it makes a great support for growing winter squash and pumpkins vertically.
Malabar spinach is not technically a spinach variety, however, it is very similar in taste to spinach plants. This vining plant can grow between 8 to 10 inches in height, making it ideal to grow on a small teepee trellis or along wire fencing.
Birdhouse, Luffa, Snake and Ornamental Gourds
Ornamental gourds, snake and luffa gourds do exceptionally well when grown vertically. A cattle panel arch trellis, a-frame trellis, or a teepee trellis work quite well for housing these vining plants.
Many gourd varieties are capable of remaining on the vine as late as mid-October, making them a great cover for delicate fall starts.
A trellis must be used to support delicate pea vines, especially ones which grow quite tall. Depending on the variety, expect pea vines to range between 24 inches to 6 feet. Golden Sweet pea and Super Sugar snaps are capable of growing over 6 feet tall.
Peas fall into the variety of:
A bush or dwarf pea variety do not need to be trellised, however, they can also be grown vertically. With the use of a garden tower, such as the Greenstalk tower, up to 60 pea plants in a bush variety can be grown in a 5-tier tower.
Another excellent vertical vegetable garden idea is pumpkins. Larger pumpkins, such as common white, carving, and Cinderella are quite heavy and not ideal for a vertical vegetable garden.
However, the following pumpkins do grow well vertically:
- Blue Hokkaido
- Long Island Cheese
- sweet pumpkins such as Sugar Pie
These varieties will need a strong trellis to climb (see the a-frame trellis) and will need to be trained to trellis. Also, once the pumpkins become large enough provide support using a sling or net.
Grapes, Kiwi, Passion Fruit, and Hops
Climbing edible perennials make a great addition to a vertical veggie garden. Prior to incorporating grapes, kiwi, passion fruit, or hops make sure to establish a strong support to hold the plant’s weight.
The following make great options for supporting the weight of these plants – split frame fencing, vineyard style posts and wire, arbor, or chain link fence.
When grown properly, pole beans will provide a prolific harvest. Because of the light weight of the vines they can be grown using any method designed for growing vertically.
Bush beans can also be grown vertically. A 5-tier garden tower is capable of holding 60 bush bean plants, yielding 3 to 5 pounds per plant.
Growing Cucumbers Vertically
Growing cucumbers vertically is a gardener’s dream. In order to prevent the cucumbers from becoming bitter or warped in size, even watering is a must.
Growing vertically allows cucumbers to be harvested at their prime. Very little produce will escape the grower’s eye when harvesting cucumber which are grown vertically.
Construct a trellis which is at least 8 feet high to accommodate varieties which can grow that height.
Vertical Veggie Garden
In addition to the items mentioned above, vertically growing plants such as the ones mentioned below make good candidates for a vertical veggie garden.
Growing strawberries vertically allows for easy picking and prevents pests such as slugs, rodents, and poultry from getting to the berries before you do.
Strawberries grow well in pots, a gutter garden, and garden towers. Keep in mind, growing strawberries, hers, and vegetables in a gutter garden requires constant watering to prevent the soil from drying out.
Tomatoes, regardless if they are determinant or indeterminate, thrive when grown vertically.
A trellising tomatoes serves multiple functions:
- allows the roots to receive better airflow and adequate watering
- minimizes blossom end rot due to improper watering
- supports the fruit as it matures
- provides adequate sunlight
The more common method for growing tomatoes vertically is with the use of tomato cages. However, there are a plethora of option available for trellising tomatoes:
- fencing attached to stakes driven into the ground
- horizontal or vertical string trellis
- plants tied to a stake
- concrete mesh form attached to stakes driven into the ground
Summer squash, regardless of the variety, can be grown vertically. This process is made easy with the use of tomato cages. The cages lift the stem and leaves off the ground, making watering much easier. This method also prevents unnecessary watering of the leaves, preventing a powdery mildew from forming on leaves.
In addition to the items mentioned above, growing summer squash vertically allows for better pollination. To learn more about growing zucchini vertically, take a look at this article by Grow a Good Life.
Growing potatoes vertically is ideal for those with limited space or those who reside in a rental home. When proper care is taken, potatoes can be grown vertically successfully, however, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
- potatoes thrive in cool moist conditions
- to produce a larger potato and a decent harvest, the leaves must not be stripped from the plant
- do not overcrowd containers, this will prohibit growth and a good yield
Potatoes are grown vertically using the following methods:
- a DIY potato tower
- 10 gallon potato bags
- and even tires
To receive a good yield, care must be taken when growing potatoes in towers. I have discovered that fingerling potatoes do best in a vertical setting. Harvesting new, or young, potatoes is easily achieved when they are grown vertically.
One last tip, make sure adequate drainage is available to prevent potatoes from rotting.
Fruits and Vegetable to Grow Vertically
The list provided is a general one, do not be limited to exploring other options. For example, growing root vegetables in growing bags or a garden tower. Small space gardeners should always remember, where there is a will, there is a way.