Vertical gardening is picking up in popularity. This is most likely due to the fact that many of us have smaller spaces. Vertical gardening allows for privacy while achieving awesome yields and a decorative element.
We are going to be looking at what the pros and cons of vertical gardening consist of. We will also be going through what to look for in a vertical garden, what to plant and even how often to fertilize.
A vertical garden saves you space & gains you privacy
It’s no surprise that backyards are getting smaller and houses are getting closer together. Vertical gardening can help alleviate two issues at once. With vertical gardening, we are growing upwards.
This allows you to save space in areas such as on your patio. This also has the added benefit of providing a beautiful privacy screen from neighbours. The added bonus is that it provides you food for when you decide to BBQ.
A vertical garden helps you to plant a wide variety of plants
Vertical gardening allows for each plant to have its own compartment and this allows for a wide variety of plants to be grown. In traditional gardens, we have to take into consideration things such as companion planting.
This is to help ensure that one plant's allelopathic properties will not affect another. Allelopathic is a fancy way of saying certain plants emit toxins to reduce competition. With vertical gardening, we don’t have to worry about this because the roots and soil for each plant are contained separately.
Vertical gardening means fewer pests & disease
Some of the most ruthless pests In the garden can only get there via the ground. A great example of this would be slugs and snails. In a vertical garden, we don’t have to worry about these pests munching on our foliage because they’re unable to get into the garden.
Disease is also a garden nuisance. What most people don’t realize is that disease typically overwinters in either the soil or dead foliage. With vertical gardening and gravity, we no longer have to worry about excessive amounts of foliage overwintering on top of the soil. This means we have less risk of diseases such as powdery mildew.
Vertical gardens insulate your building
We all know that certain plants enjoy lots of sun and heat. When the vertical garden is placed alongside your house it can actually help with absorbing some of the UV rays. This inadvertently may help reduce your cooling bill throughout the summer.
Vertical gardens help to reuse the waste and can be made with old materials
Being creative with your vertical garden can help you reduce your waste. Using things such as single-use plastic containers or pop bottles is ideal. You can even consider using things a bit more exotic as such as old downspouts, old pallets or my favourite old fabric.
Vertical gardens will give you healthy foliage
In a vertical garden, our plants are not touching the soil. It’s underestimated how much damage a soil can do if a plant's leaves are not properly pruned throughout the season. With vertical gardening, you don’t have to worry about things such as airflow.
Airflow is essential for ensuring aerobic conditions which is important to plant and soil health. This increase in air movement means an increase in evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration is a fancy word for water usage in the gardening system as a whole.
No more weeding needed
I would argue this is probably the biggest benefit. No more weeds mean a lot more time sitting and enjoying your garden. Not a lot of explaining needed for this point.
Free from damage and high accessibility
Anyone who owns a dog knows the damage a dog can do in a garden. This can be through digging the trenches or stealing vegetables. Vertical gardening solves this issue entirely.
Not only that but if you have any form of mobility issues vertical gardening can help you achieve a beautiful harvest without the backbreaking effort. Due to its vertical design, it allows for easy accessibility so long as it’s designed to the appropriate height.
The Negative Side Of Vertical Gardening
With anything, there are always downsides and if you’re considering vertical guarding there are definitely some downsides that should be pointed out.
Water & container size
If you’ve been gardening for a while you’ll probably come to the realization that as the season progresses plants need more water. And if you’ve ever planted in a container too small you know how much work it is to ensure that the plant has enough water to survive. If the amount of soil in the container is inadequate you can find yourself watering up to three times a day.
If you’re choosing to plant larger vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and melons the demand for water will be higher. Due to the weight of soil, a vertical garden with adequately sized containers can be difficult to achieve.
The only solution for this is to plant crops with lower water demand or simply water more often. There are also ways of incorporating self-watering systems or consistent water supply.
Less soil means less nutrients
With vertical gardening, it can be difficult to supply the proper balance of soil and nutrients. This means supplementing with fertilizer is an absolute must. An all-purpose fertilizer will do the trick just make sure to apply it once a week.
Planning out placement
Similar to any garden you need to plant your placement. Putting shorter plants such as lettuce and herbs at the top of the vertical garden is important. Whereas larger plants such as cucumbers & tomatoes should be placed at the bottom.
The exception to this rule would be something like a pepper plant. Pepper plants are upright and do not trail so adding them to the very top of a vertical garden will work perfectly. The main focus is ensuring the plants don’t shade each other out.
Depending on your verticals garden design things like carrots, beets & radish may be difficult to grow. This again goes back to the lack of soil and the small container size. This rule applies to any plant with a taproot system as well. Things such as corn or sunflowers both fall into this category.
Plants that do best in a vertical garden scenario would be anything with fibrous roots. For upper foliage, you are looking for something that trails, climbs or bunches.
There you have it all the pros and cons of vertical gardening. Depending on what results you’re looking for in a garden this may be the ideal solution for you. If you have flower beds dedicated strictly to growing large plants such as tomatoes and cucumbers, a vertical garden may give you enough space to start growing herbs.