Vertical gardening
6:1:8 2022-05-14 78

Vertical gardening is a term that is cropping up more and more often as cultivating food at home has become a growing trend in urban and suburban settings. Using vertical spacing allows growers to expand the area in which they can plant things by not just planting horizontally at ground level, as we have traditionally done, but making full use of walls, rails, stairs, posts, fences, and other things that are common in these settings.

As innovators have set out to design productive home gardens in city dwellings, they’ve discovered that it’s possible to grow much more on an apartment balcony than previously thought. As ingenious suburban farmers have let loose and pushed for increased production, they’ve maximized space by getting off the ground. The experiment has proven wildly successful, and it’s time for us to get our respective seeds rolling in this direction.

Vertical gardening can be achieved in many ways. It can be recognizing that vines are climbers rather than clamberers, so if we provide them with a post and a place to go, then, from just a pot or patch of ground, they’ll grow into something huge with a grand harvest (see: grapes, kiwis, akebias, cucumbers, melons, etc.). It can be a clever set of open-ended drawers with edible plants (see: salad greens and culinary herbs) poking out. It can be suspended in plant pots full of produce (see: peas, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, beans). The point is that the amount of square space we have is only a fraction of the amount of growing space we have.

And, now, just to be a little bolder about it, vertical gardens are a step towards a better future. Growing food at home is something that will lessen our need for commercially grown produce, reduce our demand for shipping things from far away, and clean up the air quality in our homes. While doing this, we can cut our grocery bills, start a healthy hobby, and seriously beautify our surroundings with greenery, flowers, fruit, vegetables, butterflies, bees, and color.

It’s easy to envision really – take that bare balcony on the second-floor apartment across the street, the one with two dusty plastic chairs and coffee-stained table between them, and fill it with life. Suddenly, it becomes a space where neighbors are waving back and forth over daily waterings and harvests – people snipping greens for fresh salads, plucking tomatoes for homemade sauces, and sharing the year’s grape harvest. This can all happen because of that four-by-four foot patio that has been converted from a concrete pad into a vertical, edible piece of the urban jungle.

To be completely honest, gardening can sometimes be challenging, especially for beginners, but those with “green thumbs” are simply those who persist. Sometimes this means literally sticking with the watering regiment or continually paying attention to the plants. Sometimes it means trying again when something doesn’t work. If we keep experimenting, keep playing with the plants, we can all discover a place and means for food production at home. With vertical gardening, we have the opportunity to produce much, much more.
 

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