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What is Vertical Gardening?

Make the most of your garden space with vertical gardening: Grow delicious vegetables and fruits and colorful flowers up on a trellis, on garden netting, in a tower of pots, and over garden structures, while enjoying the benefits of easier maintenance, healthier plants, effortless harvesting, and higher yields.

| February 1, 2012

  • Create a visual vertical garden by simply placing containers at different heights.
    Photo courtesy Rodale (c) 2011

Excerpted from Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, For More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space, by Derek Fell, with permissions from Rodale (c) 2011. The following excerpt can be found on Pages iv to vii, 1 to 4 and 63. 

Vertical gardening is the way to grow! You can make the most of your garden space by growing delicious vegetables and fruits and colorful flowers up on a trellis, on garden netting, in a tower of pots, and over garden structures, while enjoying the benefits of easier maintenance, healthier plants, effortless harvesting, and higher yields.

Growing "Up" From Here

Once you learn how easy it is to change your garden from a horizontal system to a vertical one, you'll be rewarded with a garden that involves less work and more benefits. Even people with plenty of space for a garden are finding that traditional ways of gardening (with long horizontal rows) can lead to disappointing results—the more space you try to cultivate, the more likely you are to get discouraged by aggressive weed growth, encounter problems such as pests and diseases, find that watering a large area is a never-ending commitment, and get overwhelmed when there's so much garden to care for on a weekly basis.

After years of research in my own gardens, I've developed and honed the art of vertical gardening, and I'm anxious to spread the word. Growing vegetables vertically will change your old way of growing plants in rows and beds. If you're one of the millions of people who want to experience gardening for the first time, one of the millions of gardeners looking for easier and more rewarding ways to garden, or one of the millions of gardeners who have given up on gardening because of disappointing results, consider the incredible benefits of my vertical gardening experience:

• Growing plants up, not out, in beds with a small footprint
• Less soil preparation and digging from Day 1
• More plant variety in much less space
• Many opportunities to create bottom-up and top-down plantings
• Less weeding in vertical beds, spaces, and pots
• Many space-saving container and stacking options
• Fewer maintenance chores
• Improved air circulation and less risk of plant diseases and pests
• Easier tending and harvesting—all at eye level
• Less bending and less backbreaking work
• Larger yields in a compact space
• Top-performing vertical vegetables, fruits, and flowers—especially vining types
• And much, much more fun!

The biggest mistake gardeners make in planting a garden is starting too big. After they dig the soil in a large garden plot and plant a traditional horizontal garden in long, straight rows or large raised beds, summer days get hot and humid, encouraging a forest of weeds and creating a daily need for plant watering. Gardeners get busy with summer activities, and it's a challenge to find enough time to tend flowers or vegetables. When the harvesting, cooking, and preserving becomes time-consuming and overwhelming, gardeners give up and just let their gardens sprawl out of control—until a cold snap hits and the disappointing results are "put to bed" for another year. But it doesn't have to be this way!

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