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Growing Vertically — The Grow Network Community
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Growing Vertically

greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

When I started gardening (5 years ago) I had very little space thus bigger dreams than space available. But then I did not know about vertical gardening either.

But part way through my first growing season I kept thinking that if these cucumbers, zucchini, pole beans etc. didn't spread out so much I could get more crops in (I was using all raised beds then).

So I kind of started trying to grow some things up. I had bamboo po;es everywhere with plants tied to them. Then the stems slid down the poles. So I started adding twine from pole to pole. That worked a little better but everything was so saggy.

Fast forward to today and vertical gardening is all the rage thus there is tons of supplies, and advice on how to incorporate it into your own garden.

So how does everyone else utilize this method?

Do you like it or maybe you don't need it is you have lots and lots of space?

What seems to have worked the best for you? Which type of crop on what kind of trellis?

Myself, I"m still working on trying to find a way to make my melon patch work better for me. I never had melons for the first three years, way too much space lost to one crop. Anyone else figure out a good way to solve this problem?


  • toreytorey Posts: 2,312 admin

    I have seen melons done on trellis'. Wooden lattice work type. As the melons developed, they were put inside parts of old panty-hose which was tied to the trellis to support the weight of the growing melons.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 437 ✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball We grew sugar pumpkins on two pallets creating an A frame last year. If you set them level and tie together they make a strong sturdy trellis for the heavier fruits!

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey and @herbantherapy

    both of these are a good idea but since there was so much wood to the structure I was afraid of blocking out the light to the surrounding areas of my plants.

    I do have all of my garden in a smaller enclosed area so I try to be careful about what type of structures I add so I do not block light to the plants on all the other sides also.

    I still have about a month to figure out how I might manage to use these ideas and see what I can come up with.

  • maimovermaimover Posts: 307 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball check out roots and refuge on you tube. There is a video on many options for vertical gardening. I believe she even has her melons 🍉 growing upwards. I’ve been trying to find a property with some land so I can have some chickens, hopefully some bees, and of course more garden space. Fast forward through offers n what not and it looks like I’m stuck here for another growing season and decided to make lemons instead of being unhappy about it. Obviously the universe has a different plan for me right now. I’m hoping this weekend to be able to get some vertical pallets placed on a small section of stockade fence; hoping to get some strawberries started. If next year finds me in a different location the strawberries can come along with their pallet with me. Also thinking of putting some annual herbs in there as well. The biggest challenge for me (I’ve never grown potatoes and hear nightmare stories of growing them) is I’m gonna try to grow some in the four pallet square method; it’s not vertical but it’ll keep them out of the garden space so hopefully less bugs and a decent yield without taking up garden real estate. You can also check out Michael Smith from “The need to grow” movie. He is growing magnificent crops vertically over empty parking and city lots. It truly is amazing what can be done. Good luck...

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @maimover thanks for the you tube advice. I will check theirs out and see what I can come up with which might work for me.

    As for your growing potatoes comment, I don't know who is telling you horror stories about potatoes... or why, but they are very easy to grow. Just remember, don't plant in a tomato/pepper patch from last year (less chance of the potatoes getting an infection), don't put any wood ashes around the plant or in its soil area (almost completely removes any chance of your plants getting scab) and when Japanese beetle season comes around in your area, get them off and get them in a jar of soapy water (I use the jar lid to knock them off into the jar.) That pretty much takes care of all the pesticide and herbicide problems you might have.

    As for how to grow them, sounds like you want to use a raised bed formula. So prep your soil first. Add some organic compost if you did not yet this year. And then every plant states it needs about 12" but I say ignore that and place them about every 8". If it is a raised bed, dig a trench and place a seed potato every 8". Cover it with about 4" of soil. Fill up the whole bed that way. Then when the seedlings break ground and are about 4" high, take some more soil/compost and add some to the base of every plant (about 2-3" depth around the plant.) Make sure there is no tiny spuds showing on or near the surface. As the plant gets taller, just add some more soil around the base of each plant. The whole process is always have enough soil there so no spuds show thru the surface of the soil. Eventually, you will notice the growth has stopped and the plants are dying back. This is normal. Stop all watering (except rainfall) and let the plant die back naturally. The spuds themselves underground are now in their maturation phase. After a few weeks as most of your foliage is brown or getting there, you can start digging as you want.

    A side note, some people always say they have problems getting potato blossoms (most people believe no blossoms=no potatoes). Ignore that. Almost every seed potato in today's market can and will produce even if there is no or few blossoms.

    Good Luck!

  • gardneto76gardneto76 Posts: 254 ✭✭✭

    I have seen videos using hog panels bent over between 2 raised beds with melons growing in between. Once the melons start to develop they are given some kind of support. This also works great for cucumbers and loofahs.

  • maimovermaimover Posts: 307 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball thank you so much for all that info. I was told I didn’t want to grow potatoes “because” of the bugs. Funny story (at least to me lol) I remember when I was a little girl hearing my mom tell my aunt Annie about the dreams (nightmares) she would have when “she” was a little girl having to pick the potato bugs. Their dad tried to wake her up for some ice cream and she was so tired from picking bugs all day that in her sleep she was saying “no more potato bugs “ as he was calling her. Anyways I’m stubborn and going to give it a whirl. If it works great and if it’s a horrible experience I won’t do it again or I’ll learn in the process how to make it better. I did see a video that describes the growing as you did so reading the process again helps my brain to remember. I like your jar idea; Lyn Gillespie at the Living Farm calls her big holder the party jar. I love it!

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @gardneto76 Yes, I do have cattle panels which I am now using for my squash, cukes, pole beans etc. but the melon area has no side supports which I can attach the panels to. It also happens to be on a hillside so the slope tends to "tip" everything I have placed there over with time.

    I even went and dug down about 12" a few years ago and added four side posts and added the panels to that but with the slope, plus the weight of the vines and produce plus rainfall and etc. etc. all made that a bomb of an idea.

    Just because the slope is pretty steep I have got to come up with more of a lower framework to help keep this contained and clean,

    Oh well, each year I try to find another idea which is transportable but heavy duty enough to work.

  • gardneto76gardneto76 Posts: 254 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball could you drive T-posts down & tie to that? It is definitely going to have to be something heavy duty to keep all that in place.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @gardneto76 when I said I added 4 side posts, those were T-posts I placed down about 12". If I was willing to add concrete to the holes and cement them in place that would work but I am not willing to add cement mix into my garden soil area (even if it was contained to a bucket.)

    But with loose soil, steep slope, wind and rainfall always moving them back and forth, they just keep working themselves loose over the season each year. Then add the weight of the plant and fruits and over it topples.

  • burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 199 ✭✭✭

    I grow my cucumbers and pickling cucumbers on a trellis system. I also grow my snow and sugar snap peas and green beans vertically against my back fence line. I run twine up and down through the top of the pickets of the fence and the plants grow up the twine. It’s worked very well and freed up valuable space in my raised bed garden for other things.

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