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Growing Vegetables in Vertical Gardens

Last Updated Nov 24, 2010 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but never have because you thought you didn’t have the space?  The introduction and growing popularity of vertical gardens means that it doesn’t matter how strapped for space you are, you can now grow a range of vegetables for you and your whole family to enjoy.  Here’s what you need to know.

Ideas for Vertical Vegetable Gardens

The term vertical garden can mean different things. Some types of vertical vegetable gardens include:
  • Green walls – these are where the plants are planted into a special layer of felt that is affixed to a frame and then secured to a wall
  • Trellises – climbing plants such as peas, beans, and other vegetables that grow on vines can be trained to grow up trellises and cover a wall
  • Shelving – rows of shelving can be affixed to a wall and filled with vegetables that are growing in containers.  This gives you greater flexibility in the vegies that you can grow as it depends on the size of the pot. Slatted shelves are best if you want water to trickle down to the plants below
  • Hanging baskets – some vegetables do excellently in hanging baskets

Locating and Planting Your Vertical Vegetable Garden

The very first thing that you need to do is to figure out where you want to put your new vertical garden.  Vertical gardens most commonly come as “green walls” (plants grow in a layer of felt that is attached to a special frame that is then fixed to the wall) which can be easily affixed to a balcony wall, the wall of your home, or to your courtyard fence.  They can even be freestanding if you have a strong enough support system.  Make sure that your wall will get enough sun but try and avoid it being too exposed or too hot.

The next thing you need to do is to decide what vegetables that you want to grow.  You have a huge range of choices but you will have trouble growing vegetables that need a lot of soil, such as root vegetables.  Some great options that you could try are lettuce and other salad greens, herbs, tomatoes, capsicums, chillies, cabbage, beans, peas, and so on.

Your vegetables will be planted into high quality potting mix or they can be planted into a special soilless media.  If soil is not being used, the plants will get their nutrients from the water (the nutrients are added).

Caring for Your Vertical Vegetable Garden

To ensure that you get the best vegies from your vertical garden, there are some care tips that you will need to follow.  Firstly is to make sure that the plants are getting the amount of moisture that they require.  You can water the vertical garden yourself but you may be better off having a gravity fed drip irrigation system installed.

You also need to make sure that your vegies get the food that they need.  If you are using soil, opt for a potting mix that has slow release fertilisers added, or you can add fertilisers (liquid or granular) as required.  If you are using a soilless media, you will need to add nutrients to the water regularly.
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