Ahhh, gardening. It is one of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer months. Out in the sun, hands in the dirt, growing the food that our family will eat fresh and preserved for later in the season.
Many of us don't have large swaths of land to cultivate for our vegetable garden and that was the case for us in our last home. Fortunately we have been able to move to a small farm, and despite having ample room to grow, still choose to grow UP!
We use raised beds to garden in because of the ease and ability to control weeds and conditions more easily. The up front cost is more than just tilling up a bed and planting, but I am all about working smarter, not harder! And weeding is one of my LEAST favorite things to do in the world.
If you build them well, a raised garden will last for many years of good use and you will more than see your return in productivity and time NOT spent weeding. And that my people, it a return well worth investing in!
Something I always ran into was the issue that I simply wanted to grow more than I could fit into our current number of raised beds. So inevitably I would talk my wonderful, and handy husband into building me a couple more. Which would again quickly be filled with plants. See the problem, lol!
Last year we moved and didn't have the pleasure of having raised beds yet, but employed trellising with cattle panels to grow beans, which I loved!!! So you had better bet that since I have (some of) my boxes built, the trellises weren't far behind!
Here are some tools and supplies needed to complete this project.
u straps (or water heater strap if your cool like us)
drill with a bit to match your screws
zip ties (optional)
bolt cutters (optional)
It goes a lot more smoothly with two people to move panels around but it CAN be done by yourself. It just may not be pretty. Any you might have a couple bruised shins and a few choice words. Thankfully I had help . . . this time. Ha ha.
We went with the cheaper and easy route on the trellises and used sheep goat panels from tractor supply. There are even cheaper cattle panels, but these fit our boxes the best and were evenly spaced at 4" squared for a more uniform look. We ended up trimming the bottom 6 "squares" off of each panel to cut down on the height of the arch. Bolt cutters work really well in this situation! This makes the trellis arch sit right under 7 feet at its peak. Perfect for walking under to harvest beans.
Because our boxes are so tall and spaced about 3 feet apart, it was perfect to simply secure them to the outside of each of the boxes to give it a very sturdy foundation. That way you don't disturb any of the fragile root systems of your new plants either! We ideally would have used u brackets like these but alas we couldn't find any when we needed them. So enter the handy dandy water heater strap. :) Hey it totally works!
We secured each panel in a couple of places, top and bottom and then zip tied the "arches" together to make sure they stayed even and nice looking. Really it took all of about an hour to trim, place, and secure the four trellises to the garden boxes. I swear half of that was finding missing tools that had been toted around the yard by an overzealous eight year old with a bunch of projects he has in the works. :)
As the pole beans grow we will weave the ends through the trellis as needed and watch as they form a beautiful green curtain to walk under. The beans will hang down from the sides and top and you can reach up and pick them easily!
This year we have also planted cucumbers, a couple tomatillos, and a few melons that we will see how they do growing up. There are so many great options for plants to grow vertically!!
A word of caution. If you are planting on a trellis make sure that your other plants wont be shaded too much. Our garden is oriented East-West so the sun reaches all parts most times of the day.
Let me know if you have used vertical gardening before and how you liked it. If you are trying it for the first time this year, drop a comment about what you are growing! I love that more people are taking the plunge and trying their hand at growing their own food! Interested in our raised garden bed plans and materials list? Drop a comment and I will get a post up about them!