The concept of vertical gardening may not be something you’ve put much thought into. But done correctly, vertical gardening can be a space saving idea in gardens and landscapes with limited room.
Vining, sprawling vegetables such as some types of squash, cucumbers and running peas take up more garden space if they are allowed to grow along the ground. The same space can be more productive when those same plants are grown vertically instead of horizontally.
Growing such plants vertically on a trellis, tomato cage, along a fence or other upright structure can make better use of limited growing space. And, in some cases, you will experience an increase in yield. This is partly due to the fact that the plants and fruit will have better air circulation, allowing them to dry more quickly following rains or irrigation. This reduces many fungal diseases that are dependent on the plants/fruit staying wet for extended periods. Also, the fruit will be elevated, not growing on the ground. This helps minimize some fruit rot diseases.
It’s easier to see pest insects and diseased fruits and to achieve more uniform coverage of pesticides on upright growing plants as compared to those growing along the ground. This improves pest control.
Vertical gardening can make harvesting easier. For example, green cucumbers and zucchini squash that may easily be missed hidden under green leaves along the ground are easier to spot growing on upright plants. And, less bending over is required in harvesting as the fruit are elevated along the vertical structure.
There are many structures that can be used to support plants in a vertical fashion. Your imagination is almost the limit.
To learn more, you may wish to attend an upcoming seminar on vertical gardening being held at the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office from 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15. The Extension Office is located at 3098 Airport Road in Crestview.
Laura Sell will be our speaker at this month’s lecture series. In addition to being a volunteer as a UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener in Walton County, Laura works at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center in Freeport, FL. She describes herself as having somewhat of an obsession with vertical gardening and is always on the lookout for new ways to grow vertically.
Laura will share innovative designs that she has implemented at the Biophilia Center and make suggestions of ways to grow vertically within a limited space.
There is no cost to attend this seminar but space is limited so registration is required. Please call (850) 689-5850 to register.
Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent, Okaloosa County, June 9, 2016
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