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Vertical vegetable garden ideas perfect for small spaces

GARDYN/Vego Garden

Vertical vegetable gardens let more people enjoy homegrown veggies

If your green thumb is itching for more plants but you don't have the space, a vertical garden might be the solution. Vertical gardening systems use tiered or hanging planters and trellises to help you make the most of small spaces, whether they're outdoors or inside. They're a great way to plant a variety of vegetables in a small footprint for better yields. Try these vertical garden systems for your next veggie crop.

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Vertical garden ideas

Vertical gardens not only save space, they're eye-catching and make crops easier to harvest since there's no need to kneel or bend over. Whether you're growing outdoors or inside, be sure your vegetables can get between six to eight hours of sunlight. Take extra care to ensure plants in smaller pots are getting the right amount of water.

Wall planters

If you have a bare wall or fence that gets sufficient sunlight, it can become a living wall. Outdoor wall planters can be made from wood, plastic or even moisture-regulating felt fabric. If you're growing indoors, aesthetically appealing ceramic or metal planters might be more suitable.

Mount containers directly on your wall or fence or hang pots from a dowel, railing or hook. Make sure your wall planter has good drainage — and that it won't leak all over your floors if you're using it indoors.

Hydroponic gardening

Hydroponics let you grow plants without soil. It's an easy and low-mess alternative to growing plants conventionally indoors. Plus, hydroponic systems usually let you grow more plants in one container, so you get a higher yield in a smaller footprint. It also uses less water than conventional gardening.

However, hydroponic gardening has a bit of a learning curve, and it can be expensive to set up.

Trellis gardening

Add a trellis to almost any planter to convert it into a vertical garden and boost its yield. Vining varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and even melons can be trained onto a trellis for extra growing space and higher yields. Trellises offer an aesthetic bonus as well: They can be used to hide a boring wall or to provide privacy from neighbors.

Smaller, lighter vegetables such as beans can grow on lightweight trellises made from bamboo or plastic. Heavier vegetables do better on thicker, sturdier trellises made from wood or metal. You may even need slings to support heavy crops, such as melons or eggplant, as they ripen.

Also, make sure the trellis is the right size for your plant. A trellis or cage that's too small can inhibit growth, resulting in a smaller harvest or even damaging the plant.

What foods can I grow in a vertical garden?

Many herbs are suited to the compact nature of vertical gardening. Some, such as mint, are actually better to plant in containers to prevent them from taking over your yard. Plus, many herbs can be grown indoors, giving you easy access to them while you're cooking. Plant your vertical herb garden in small individual planters or grouped in a tiered planter.

Fruits and vegetables require more space, but these do well in a vertical garden:

  • Pole beans
  • Sprawling or climbing cucumbers and zucchini
  • Climbing peas
  • Cut-and-come-again salad greens
  • Strawberries
  • Smaller squash varieties
  • Patio-variety or vining cherry tomatoes

Generally, vining vegetable varieties do better in a vertical garden because they're easily trained onto a trellis. Make sure these plants have a sturdy trellis or cage that can support the weight of a growing crop. If you're especially short on space, consider miniature vegetable varieties that won't overwhelm your trellis.

What plants should not be planted together?

It may be tempting to save even more space by planting multiple vegetables in one container, but this can backfire. Plants can end up competing for the same resources, limiting each other's yields and affecting flavor. Mismatched plants can even spread disease.

Some vegetable combinations to avoid are:

  • Tomatoes and potatoes
  • Tomatoes and strawberries
  • Alliums (onions and garlic) and legumes (peas and beans)

Best vertical vegetable garden supplies

ShopLaLa Wall Planter 2-Pack

These ladder-like plant hangers can display small pots or provide a trellis for climbing plants. With easy assembly, each wooden hanger measures 11.4 inches wide by 47.2 inches long, providing lots of room for plants.

Arlmont & Co Hanging Tomato Grow Kit

Made from sturdy, breathable fabric, these bags can be used to grow tomatoes, strawberries or herbs and hang from built-in straps. They're sold in a set of three, each bag measuring about 8 inches across by 14 inches long.

Cheungs Handmade Wood Indoor Vertical Garden

This Parisian-inspired indoor planter is perfect for a kitchen herb garden. It's made from solid wood and has space to hold nine plants. Use the chalkboard on top for a welcoming message or to keep track of watering.

GARDYN Hydroponics Growing System 4.0

This cutting-edge hydroponic system can grow 30 large plants in just 2 square feet of floor space. Smart, energy-efficient LEDs mimic natural sunrise and sunset. It comes with 30 plants including salad greens, chard, tomatoes and herbs.

Vego Garden Self-Watering Tomato Planter

Fill the 9-liter reservoir in this innovative planter and it can water your vegetables for more than a month. The included trellis offers a framework to support tall, healthy tomatoes.  Parts of this planter are made with recycled ocean plastic and bioplastic from agricultural waste.

MEIWO 7-Pocket Hanging Planter 2-Pack

Hang these sturdy fabric planter pockets on a wall, fence or pillar to create extra planting space. They come with clear, adjustable ties that can easily attach to most railings. The large-capacity pockets can hold a wide variety of herbs, strawberries, vegetables and more.

LaLaGreen Wall-Mounted Planters 10-Pack

Fill a sunny wall with plants using this set of 10 modern white pots. They're self-watering, thanks to a two-part pot system that draws moisture from the outer pot through a cotton wick to the inner pot.

Mkono Hanging Ceramic Wall Planter

This three-tiered plant hanger is perfect for herbs, as well as succulents and small houseplants. The ceramic pots hang from an adjustable cotton rope, and each planter has a drainage hole to keep plants from getting soggy.

LaLaGreen Hanging Planters 10-Pack

Easily display your plants on a rail or plant hanger with this set of 10 4-inch pots. Each metal pot has a built-in hook and a drainage hole. Choose from a rainbow of color choices, as well as black or white.

Pri Gardens Hanging Strawberry Planter

Plant strawberries in this felt planter and hang it up for easy enjoyment. The sturdy grow bag features 11 apertures for plants to grow through. It's designed to grow bare-root strawberries, which are more economical than potted plants, but more challenging for beginner gardeners.

Arlmont & Co Kushmita 4-Tier Vertical Raised Garden Planters

This multipurpose planter can be used indoors or outside. The four planters are positioned to allow sunlight to reach all levels. Its metal frame and sturdy wide-angle base keeps your garden stable and locking caster wheels make it easy to position these planters anywhere.

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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