Vertical gardens are a great way to grow a variety of vegetables, fruits, and herbs when you have limited space. They can have various configurations and can be built in any way that you choose. But, are vertical gardens hard to maintain?
In fact, vertical gardens are often easier to maintain than other types of gardens and have many advantages over regular growing spaces. The main thing you have to worry about is keeping them well-watered. This is even easier when you install an automatic watering system.
Here are just some of the advantages of growing in a vertical garden as well as their maintenance requirements.
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Watering Is Easy If You Install An Automatic System
With vertical gardens, keeping them well-watered is the main task that you need to worry about. This is because the roots of the plants have less space and can’t go in search of water like they can if they’re growing in the ground.
You’ll also find that, because there is limited soil for the plants to grow in, this smaller amount of soil will dry out much faster. Therefore, you need to constantly monitor the moisture level in the soil if you want your plants to thrive.
Without an automatic watering system, this could mean that you will have to water your vertical garden daily during the warmer months. Especially, if your garden is in full sun. While this is not a huge job, it is something that you have to remember to do.
That’s why it’s much easier to install an automatic watering system. It’s even better if you have this connected to a tap with a timer that you can set to come on every day. Bear in mind that, while daily watering may be necessary in summer, it may not be at other times of the year.
Another thing you want to keep in mind is that some plants will require more water than others. For example, salad greens such as lettuce are quite thirsty while herbs such as rosemary and sage don’t need as much water.
You’ll also find that many vertical gardens allow the water to flow from the top tier onto the tiers below. Of course, this depends on the type of garden that you have. This makes planning your planting by having more drought-tolerant plants at the bottom and moisture-loving ones above, quite easy.
Regular Fertilizing Is Also An Important Task To Consider
Remember that plants grown in vertical gardens only have access to the nutrients that are in the soil. This is likely to be depleted fairly quickly. So, for your plants to grow strong and healthy, you have to feed them regularly.
This can be as simple as adding liquid fertilizers such as fish emulsion or liquid seaweed to your water at least once every 2 weeks during the main growing season. You especially want to do this for green leafy crops.
As an alternative, you can also use slow-release granules. These will release nutrients to the roots of your plants as they need them. If using this type of fertilizer, you might only have to reapply it once every three months or so depending on the season and type of plants you’re growing.
Regular Pruning And Maintenance Is Limited
Remember that plants grown in vertical gardens have limited space for their roots. This also means that their growth will be restricted above the soil. This is good news when it comes to maintenance because very little is required.
The only thing you really have to do is remove any dead foliage to keep the plants clean. If you’re growing flowers, regular dead-heading is important to promote more blooming. Dead-heading is simply removing the spend flowers.
Herbs grown in vertical gardens will benefit from a regular tip prune to keep them nice and bushy. But, if you’re harvesting them regularly to use in your cooking, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The only other required maintenance is if you’re growing climbing plants such as cucumber or peas. More often than not, these plants will climb up the supports on their own but it’s a good idea to train them. This allows you to direct the growth where you want it to be.
Major Advantages To Growing In A Vertical Garden
As you now know, maintaining a vertical garden is fairly easy and shouldn’t take a lot of time if you plan well. But, there are plenty of other advantages to this type of gardening. Here are just a few:
- You’re mostly working at eye level. This makes tending your plants nice and easy as you don’t have to constantly bend over or kneel on the ground. This is especially great for people who have back problems.
- Weeds are non-existent. If you use a good quality potting mix, you won’t have to worry about weeds at all. This is far different from when you’re growing in the ground. Proprietary potting mixes are usually heat-treated to kill off any weeds seeds. So, that’s one less task that you have to worry about.
- Pests and disease problems are limited. For the same reason, a good quality potting mix won’t contain any bacteria or fungal spores. Therefore, there will be limited diseases that could infect your plants. You also shouldn’t have a problem with pests such as slugs and snails because your garden is off the ground. However, you will have to keep an eye out for airborne pests such as aphids and the white cabbage moth.
- Watering can be economical with a drip system. If you install an automatic drip system, you’ll find that you can water quite economically because the water will flow from the top tier to the tiers below.
In general, vertical gardens are not difficult to maintain. You just have to pay closer attention to the watering and fertilizer requirements of the plants that you’re growing.
If set up correctly, a vertical garden system can easily provide you with all the vegetables, herbs, and fruits that your household needs without taking up a lot of space.