Grow up, not out

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No this is not about changing your attitude and losing weight, it is time to garden, put something in the ground, even if you don’t have a large yard or a yard at all.

DebbieNorrellBox

I just checked out a book called “Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out” by Derek Fell. He says you can have more vegetables and flowers in much less space. The biggest mistake gardeners make each season is going too big, too fast. They often quickly realize that their large plot requires too much weeding, too much watering and hours of backbreaking labor. Traditional gardening also comes with risks that include pests and diseases, tending to such a large space.

Vertical gardening is an innovative and effortless growing system that emphasizes bottom up and top down supports for vegetable flowers and fruits. This method guarantees a better outcome from the day the trowel hits the soil by shrinking the floor (amount of ground) needed and focusing on climbing plants that are less prone to insects, diseases and animal pests. According to Fell, this method of gardening not only takes up less space, it produces high yields, requires less effort and leaves more time to enjoy the garden.

Fell has tried and tested the basics to lay the groundwork for a vertical gardening system. He reveals the best supports, a mix of do it yourself and commercially available string supports, trellises, pergolas, raised beds, skyscraper gardens and topsy-turvy planters to use as well as the best vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers for growing up. His grow-up, grow-down system also shows which ground level plants make good companions underneath and alongside climbing plants. Best of all, many of Fell’s greatest climbers and mutually beneficial plants are available in seed packets in every local garden center. So you too can have a garden, even if you only have a container on a deck.

In “Vertical Gardening” you will find over 200 pictures of the author’s own vertical methods. Vertical gardening is ideal for gardening in the urban city areas, apartments with balconies, and they are easily accessible for gardeners with disabilities or elderly gardeners for ease of enjoying their hobby. You can use wooden or metal trellises, hanging baskets, shelves, containers, a wood frame, or any combination of these, to create a space-saving vertical garden. Any space you have available for gardening will be better utilized if you take advantage of growing your plants upward instead of outward.

It is also helpful to locate your garden near a convenient source of water. Stay away from trees and shrubs, which will compete with your garden for water. Locate your garden facing south if possible. (If you do not have access to a sunny location, all of the broad leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach will grow well in shade or partial shade.)

Some suggestions of climbing plants: cucumbers, squash (acorn or butternut), tomato, etc. Now that the weather is going to get better, it is time to plant.

(E-mail the columnist at deb­bienorrell@aol.com.)

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