How to Build a Vertical Vegetable Garden
In the photo below, you can see exactly how a vertical garden needs to be built. For one, there needs to be plenty of support for the weight of the plants you’re growing. Remember that the vegetables that you’re growing vertically can easily be pulled down by strong gusts. So the better support you can have for your vegetables being grown vertically, the better off you will be.
Some people stick their supports in the soil, but I strongly suggest attaching your supports to the containers by screws or nails. That way, you won’t have to worry about your vegetables falling down or getting blown over by strong winds or thunderstorms.
You also need to set up the bed for your plants and put the growing supports in place before you ever plant your vegetables in the beds.
Build a Simple Frame
If you need an idea for a place to start, you can just build a sturdy frame like in the photo below (or just a standard cube-like structure). If you build it in a 12′ x 12′ square, you’ll be able to grow all the cucumbers you—and several families—will be able to use. Once you have the frame built, be sure to create a door and cover the sides and top with hog wire.
Be sure that you use treated lumber for your grow frames and for your containers. I put my growing containers around the bottom of the frames, and I put thick black plastic down in the floor of the enclosure to block out grass and weeds. I often set an outdoor chair inside the enclosure and just go out there and sit for a while in the evenings. When the enclosure gets covered with cucumbers, it looks like a cucumber house.
Note: If you’re using treated wood boxes for your containers, they should be set on 4″ x 4″ timbers, or even on railroad ties, so that they will be up off the ground.
How to Encourage Vertical Growth
In many cases, you can just plant something as you normally would and then move the vines to encourage them to grow up and over your vertical supports. I often use cotton gardening twine to tie mature plants to their supports, encouraging them to grow vertically.
Hog Wire Works Great for Added Support
You can also use what is known as hog wire to build great support walls to grow cucumbers on. If you grow your cucumbers this way, you’ll be able to walk along the wall of hog wire that they’re growing on and pick off the fruits.
To do this, you can put up 4″ x 4″ wooden posts about 2 feet in the ground with 6 feet sticking up above the ground and fasten hog wire across the poles like a fence. Then plant your cucumber plants along the bottom, about a foot apart. As the cucumber plants grow, train them up onto the hog wire. You can weave the growing plants into the hog wire. The cucumber plants will keep growing, and you’ll be rewarded in time with lots of delicious cucumbers along your vertical wall.
Vertical gardening is a great way to maximize the use of a small space. You can grow everything from pole beans and tomatoes to larger plants like potatoes and pumpkins. This guide will show you how.