Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Vertical Veggie Gardening

Hello fellow readers, Oh, goodie! Garden catalogs are here to tease our fancy and tickle our toes. Not sure what toes have to do with it, but it sounds exciting. And it is! John from Hope asked whether to grow veggies in those newfangled vertical garden “systems” and bags. It’s fun and takes up less space allowing edibles closer to the door in hopes of deterring the uninvited.

Benefits of Vertical Gardening

Vertically grown veggies are easy to pick, and the techniques can help eliminate weeding and ground insects. And by using layers of hanging and climbing and adding flowers into the repertoire, vertical gardens are beautiful.

There are stackable pots, hanging planters or baskets, and wall bags. Even self-watering containers such as Earth Box kits — each with an overflow hole, an aeration screen, a water fill tube, two reversible mulch covers, plus an instruction sheet. Phew. You may prefer to keep it simple and use an existing fence as a vertical structure. Even chain link looks appealing with veggies climbing aboard; A bit tough to remove previous year’s vines to prevent disease, but doable.

Vertical “Systems” to Consider

Woolly Pockets are a popular felt-like wall bag. They’re pricey at $40 for a single called Wally One, and Wally 3 and Wally 5 pocket versions run $100 to $150. Made in America of recycled plastic bottles helps justify the splurge, and green walls are hip and stylish, even filled with houseplants to create a green piece of art inside.

Remember the trend of upside-down gardening? Topsy Turvy planters, a lousy likeness to Chinese lanterns, are still around. I’ve heard that a homemade version using a 5-gallon spackle bucket works better in yield. But let’s face it; both are ugly. And plants want to grow upwards, responding to gravity and light, so it seems cruel to plant them upside down.

There are always easy-to-make tripod trellises made of bamboo that veggies can climb. Add them to pots or in your traditional garden — nothing like sticking your toes into good old-fashioned dirt. Maybe just a gardener’s thing? Tickle tickle.

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Click through to Vertical Gardening Part 2

column updated 2/12/23

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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