Pumpkins growing on vines

You can grow most hardy-ish vegetables on a vertical garden. One of the major benefits of vertical gardening is the ability to produce a much higher crop yield. Generally lighter weight, all-season growers are the best choice for beginners, but you can be flexible.

A common misnomer about vertical gardening is that you’re incredibly limited by what you can grow. And this is only really true when you have structural limitations – commonly associated with living walls – or climate-based concerns. As you would with any other garden.

The big difference with vertical gardens tends to be wind speed – it tends to increase the higher you get above ground level. So, depending on how sheltered your vertical garden is could dictate what vegetables you should and shouldn’t use.

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Climbing Beans

Climbing Beans

Climbing beans – any type of green bean – are the world’s most popular vertical gardening vegetable. Well that’s if pictures of vertical gardens are anything to go by.

A vegetable that will grow up any structure you put in place, reaching more than 10 feet in height at times. There are some types of beans that grow all year round and some that are much more effective in different seasons. Pole beans for example produce crop all year-round.

Climbing Peas

Climbing peas

Almost any kind of pea grows well in a vertical garden. They don’t require much space, are incredibly lightweight and will grow on any kind of support system.

As pea plants are low maintenance, aggressive growers – the vines and tendrils tend to get everywhere – they can cover large areas of support structures by themselves if you let them.

Best grown in the spring and autumn – the cooler seasons.

Vine Tomatoes

Tomatoes on the vine

In fact any tomatoes can be grown on a vertical structure. But vining tomatoes are the most well-trodden path because the fruit grows from the tip of the plant and can handle trellises.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers with pretty yellow flowers

Like beans and peas cucumbers are vociferous growers. However tall your trellis, teepee or vertical structure, cucumber plants will find a way to the top.

Easy to spot when the crop is ready and renowned for its large crop, cucumbers have really pretty yellow flowers that add a nice floral touch.

Melons

Melons growing on vines

Whilst you may not have considered such large varieties of edibles for your vertical garden, melons, squashes and gourds can all grow very effectively on vertical structures.

Now obviously you won’t want to try and grow a 10kg watermelon. That’s pushing the boat out a little too far. But there are smaller varieties of watermelon that have very pretty flowers and work well on vertical structures. The golden midget watermelon is an excellent choice.

Squashes & Gourds

Squashes growing on vines

Technically you could grow full-size squashes on vertical structures if they have the capacity to cope with the weight of a fully-grown squash. There are some smaller varieties like Winter Acorn that won’t put too much strain your vertical systems and the vines themselves.

Squash also has winter and summer seasonal varieties that affect when and where you should plant them. There are some really sightly yellow flowers too.

Summer squash – take zucchini as an example – are big spreaders and can overwhelm other vegetables. And whilst they aren’t natural climbers, the vines can be laid – and trained – to grow vertically.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins growing

Not a particularly widely grown vegetable in the UK, the spooky pumpkin is actually an excellent option for vertical gardening.Although not the larger varieties. You’re better off with bumpkins and munchkins. With a smaller, much more lightweight crop, these ones probably won’t break your roof, trellis or wall.

Much like with squash you’ll want to house the vegetables in hammocks to prevent the vines breaking under the strain.

FAQs

Any vegetable that can be trained to ‘climb’ vertically – if it doesn’t already – and can be supported by the structure can be grown vertically.

Peas, beans, squashes, gourds, tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, tomatoes and cucumbers are personal favourites.

Some vegetables grow vertically naturally. Any climbing variety like beans and peas are super options. Others can be trained to grow vertically like squashes and pumpkins by laying the vines through the structure. You’ll just need to support the larger fruits and vegetables with a hammock to prevent the vines breaking.

You can grow all manner of herbs, vegetables and fruits in a pocket garden. 

Potatoes and other root vegetables grow well – although you’ll need to plant carefully to ensure each one gets enough nutrients. Squashes, pumpkins and gourds will grow well, but ditto the above. And all manner of beans, peas, tomatoes, spinach, raddishes will grow effecgtively.

Typically lighter weight vegetables like herbs, cherry tomatoes, spinach, lettuce and climbing beans or peas are good options to grow hanging.

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