Vertical gardening is a great way to utilize limited ground space. When restricted by available ground, as long as there is a blank fence or wall, more gardening is possible. Vertical gardening is also great for gardeners with disabilities who cannot bend down to tend plants growing on the ground. With vertical gardens, they can sit or stand and easily tend plants within reach. Another bonus is that vertical gardens can be set up both outside and inside, with living walls becoming more popular.
One of the more common ways to garden vertically is with trellises, which are especially useful for climbing plants like pole beans. Plants are able to grow and spread upward without crowding other ground plants. Yield is also improved as fruits are not hidden under growth where they can over-ripen. Trays can also be used for vertical gardening, usually with succulents. Pallet gardens work well, too, but double check whether the pallet has been treated with chemicals before using it to plant food crops.
Another popular method uses recycled plastic bottles. Bottles are cut so they can be nested in one another end-to-end. They are then mounted upside-down to a vertical surface. Mounting the bottles one over another creates a simple irrigation system that utilizes gravity. Drainage holes are drilled into the bottle caps so water can drip down from the top bottle to the lower bottles. A final bottle can be placed at the base of the column to collect water that trickles through the soil in the other bottles. Once this bottom bottle fills with water it can be used to water the plants again. A simple pump for a fish tank can also be used to constantly carry water back to the top once it reaches the bottom.
While not “vertical,” rooftop gardening is another popular option in urban settings. In a landscape where roads and sidewalks dominate much of the ground area and buildings don’t always allow sunlight to reach plants on the ground, roofs are effectively turned into gardens. Rooftop gardening is also great because roof space is often under utilized. Roofs are more exposed to sunlight and rainwater than a traditional garden would be in an urban area. Rooftop gardens also provide many benefits: they help process carbon dioxide emissions, reduce the effects of storm water runoff, and serve as insulation for buildings.
While traditional gardening in yards is great, not everyone has the space needed. Vertical gardening and rooftop gardens offer a reasonable alternative, allowing more people to cultivate plants for sustainability or pleasure.