Focus on... Vertical gardening
Amateur Gardening|May 08, 2021
If space is tight, worry not, as you can still grow fruit and veg if you are prepared to raise your game. Lucy explains how you can take edible gardens to new heights
Lucy Chamberlain
WITH many of us trying to cram as much fruit, veg and herbs into our gardens as possible this year, what better time to look at spacesaving growing methods? Let’s make the most of our walls, fences, trellises, boundaries and beyond, as we make this the year we all grow our own food.

Using sunshine and shade

Lockdown has galvanised a whole new gardening tribe to make more of even modest-sized spots. Existing gardeners already know what they are catching on to – that homegrown fruit and veggies are delicious! But with back gardens getting smaller (and in some cases, nonexistent), are there any limits to home production? Not if you think vertically.

Vertical surfaces are often heat traps for sun-loving tomatoes, chillies, figs and peaches. Even shade offers an excellent microclimate for tarter fruits like currants and gooseberries, or leafy veg (see our suggestions on the following page). Nifty use of planting pouches, pots or even upended pallets can create edible green walls in shadier, cooler spots.

Contain your enthusiasm

Some vegetable crops like ubiquitous cordon tomatoes, plus runner and French beans, are stalwart wall-fillers. Still, look also to less-obvious choices like heritage pea ‘Carouby de Maussane’ (mangetout) or climbing courgette ‘Black Forest’ (green fruited) and ‘Shooting Star’ (yellow fruited).

If using pots on sunny walls (to grow strawberries, for example), opt for larger troughs or even hanging baskets to avoid being tethered to the tap, and line the pot with polythene (see the checklist on page 22). Rely heavily on wires, clips, staples and twine, too – seeing a lofty or beautifully trained plant collapse in its prime is heartbreaking and unnecessary. Why not make this your year for boosted spirits and bountiful harvests?

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