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Vertical Gardening – making more space in your garden!

Food

Notes prepared by Karen Sutherland from Edible Eden Design, August 2023

Inground vs. Above-ground vertical gardening

Inground – no need for specialized growing mix or special maintenance

Above-ground – needs

  • Special growing mixes
  • Expensive structures
  • More maintenance
  • More watering needs

Structures for training plants vertically

  • Metal structures are best for permanent vertical gardening.
  • Bamboo can be used for temporary uprights, arches & teepees for vegetables such as tomatoes, beans or peas.

Challenges for above ground vertical gardening

  • Small pots dry out quickly.
  • Self-watering containers are useful.
  • Automatic irrigation is recommended!
  • Quality potting mix important for moisture retention.
  • Consider access for harvest and maintenance.

Watering

  • Due to small root zone areas, above ground vertical gardens and wall gardens dry out very quickly.
  • Wall gardens may need watering up to 4 times per day.
  • Automatic irrigation systems are recommended.
  • Commercial wall gardens are often continuously drip irrigated, with a catchment area at the base for recirculating water.
  • Water-hungry plants are best at the base.
  • Consider where the excess water will exit.

Location, location

  • Wall gardens are easily affected by exposure to harsh sun and wind.
  • East and south facing gardens are usually more successful.
  • Morning to midday sun is best.
  • Afternoon sun is best avoided, as plants can dry out quickly.
  • Many commercial wall gardens are indoors, with artificial lighting.

Living shade wall plants – note that regular pruning is required!

  • Boston Ivy
  • Climbing Fig
  • Ivy not recommended!

Espaliers

  • Trees or climbers trained up and along a wall.
  • Espalier plants can sometimes be supported by a structure, no wall.
  • Need regular maintenance to keep in good shape.
  • Very effective in narrow spaces.
  • Walls can be heat traps, so be aware not to cook plants!

Structures for Training plants vertically

  • Metal structures are best for permanent vertical gardening.
  • Bamboo can be used for temporary uprights, arches & teepees for vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, or peas.

Wall gardening in pots

  • Strawberries grown this way have less pests and diseases.
  • Choose plants with  smaller root space needs.
  • Choose pots with good depth.
  • Self-watering pots are best.

Plants for wall gardens

  • Strawberries
  • Alpine strawberries
  • Nasturtium – clumping type
  • Mints
  • Lemon sorrel
  • Red Dock
  • Chives
  • Beach Bananas, Jellybeans, Rounded Noonflower
  • Native Violets
  • Running Postman
  • Warrigal Greens
  • Dianella