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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Beauty of Vertical Gardening

If you are a suburban gardener like me, you know that your gardening space is finite.  This is especially true if, like me, you prefer to use a broadfork or other manual method to prepare your soil in the spring.  It is so much better for the soil, but you simply cannot manually plow acres and acres of land, even if you had them.  Kind of gives you an appreciation for ancient civilizations.

So, whether you are limited by available land or available muscle power, you want to get the biggest harvest possible out of your land.  And there is no better way of doing this than vertical gardening, or "growing up."

At the right, you can see my bean pole.  I planted beans in a circle around a decorative wrought-iron post, and they have been happily climbing all summer.  I was planning to string some twine from each plant up to the top of the post to give them something easier to climb, but they all "reached out" for the post, some covering as much as two feet to make contact and start twining.  I've even planted some beans in the hanging baskets you see, just to add to the fun.

On the left, you see a picture I took a few weeks ago of my cucumber trellis, which I love and which I have written about before.  It is still going strong and ensuring that I have great cucumber harvests.  Currently, my cucumber vines reach far above these trellises, making sort of a mountain of cucumber vines that I paw through twice a day to do my harvest.  Take that, everyone who has ever told me that cucumbers have to be well-spaced to do well in a garden!  There are probably 20 or more individual plants on each side of this trellis, and they are all bearing fruit.  The only trouble I have is reaching the carrots that are growing under the trellis, but hopefully this just means I have to keep my hands out of them until they are larger and cucumber season is at an end.

With all of the vertical gardening and then the tall plants like corn, walking into our garden is like entering into a magical tunnel.  Mr. FC&G says that it looks like a formal garden, and it does -- a formal garden that is cutting my food bill every time I harvest!
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