Friday, July 27, 2007

Gardens On The Rise - or Vertical Response to a Small Space

Gardens on the rise — the vertical rise that is.

Have you ever thought of gardening vertically? I hadn’t given it much thought this year when I planted gourds in one of my swans that swim around the concrete fisher boy gingerly perched on a stump. He fishes there year round, though there is no pond.

The gourds started their meandering search for where the sun they liked best was available. I watched daily as they started out toward the lawn area – and then detoured back up a side table by the park bench, and turned abruptly to check out the potted petunias on that small table. Sure enough this morning when I checked they liked the moist soil in the pot and had quickly set a tendril into the soil and the rest of the plant continued on toward the back of the park bench. There is a small tree (broken off in one of our wind storms) that affords shade to the park bench – some of the branches are precariously low to the arm of the bench. I’m waiting to see what direction the gourd will take next.

But it did give me pause. I have only a small vegetable garden area. I do make use of vertical growing most years. This year I planted bush squash so I don’t need to contend with the vines. I planted the pumpkins over in the flower bed around the windmill instead of flowers – they make a beautiful flower bed. I grow cucumbers up trellis or corn, I grow whatever I can on fences and plant smaller crops like leaf lettuce at the base to help conserve the evaporation of soil moisture and to give me more yield in a smaller area. I find that companion planting lengthens my season – even in the hot weather peas will continue to grow when roses and onions shade them on one side and beets and bush squash shade them from the other.

If you haven’t tried vertical gardening you owe to yourself to try. The plants stay cleaner, are easier to harvest, and more disease resistant because most harmful plant pests do not climb. The humming birds, butterflies, and bees are delighted with the advantage you afford them with vertical plantings. Try it next year.

Happy Gardening.

1 comment:

Bradley said...

I have not gardened in many years.. =)