From the beginning the farm has been a place of inspiration. Many times, I looked to the sky giving thanks because working the land stirred an awakening. One idea led to another and when our garden went from an open plot to raised beds that vision incorporated growing up with vertical structures.
Getting the plants off the ground seemed to make sense and using cost effective materials was a no brainier. I didn’t do this out of necessity from lack of space, it was more about adding interest and creating unique focal points.
The results measured my effort and when I look back it was time well spent. Through the process I discovered a clean, easy to manage garden that didn’t break the bank to establish. Because here’s the thing, once these structures are covered with beautiful plants the framework becomes invisible.
Within this post I’ll be sharing links to previous articles so you can see how I’ve used these materials in different ways; make sure to click and perhaps find encouragement for growing vertical in your own garden.
Vertical Garden Materials
After our first year of farming and a lot of fence projects later I realized leftover welded wire was a gem garden material. From the beginning, I had fun creating with what we had. Leftovers became gold from Robert’s projects and I snagged just about everything when he wasn’t looking.
I also used wood but found over time this material is better for annuals because when the structure is plant free it’s less difficult to replace decayed wood.
Which means if you like incorporating wood then use it for annuals and stick with welded wire or rod iron for perennials. I’m enclosing a short list of materials you may want to consider for your vertical garden. All of these can be purchased at any home improvement store or Tractor Supply.
- Cedar or Pine – 2 x 4’s
- Landscaping Timbers
- Cattle Panels
- Welded Wire fencing
- Welded Rod Iron
Grow Vertical with Cow Panels
Cow panels are my favorite and I’ve used them a lot over the years. Heavy duty panels support those beautiful blackberry bushes I shared a few weeks ago. These panels come in a variety of sizes and with the right cutters they can be shaped into smaller pieces. They’re also rather inexpensive so you can get a lot of mileage with one.
The following projects outline how I’ve used cow panels for growing pumpkins and cucumbers. There’s really no limits to what they can handle so options like smaller melons, berry vines, beans and even luffa would also be great.
Vertical with Landscaping Timbers and Welded Wire
Growing vertical continues with our first luffa field, this structure was built specifically for growing luffa sponges;we used landscaping timbers and 2 x 4’s for the framework. I really like this space and it was absolutely beautiful when it was in full bloom. Later when we decided to scale back our projects I envisioned planting this area with rows of blackberries.
That dream faded when our future plans involved selling the farm, which means it’s been sitting empty. We added welded wire which is great for plants grabbing a hold and moving up.
This is a structure I’d like to revisit in the future at another property.
Another bonus is you can add irrigation by attaching with wire towards the top. Replacing posts later would be easy because these are bold pieces making them less difficult to change out.
Vertical with Pine and Cedar
This tall raised bed is made from cedar and pine and includes a trellis that’s attached with screws. This piece was made from reclaimed wood so in all honesty I don’t expect it to last for more than a couple seasons. So far after a year it looks pretty sweet.
This project replaced a brown wooden structure that I really liked; over three seasons and a mighty wind storm it gave way last summer, view here. I used that structure for a variety of veggie annuals and really liked it because it was placed on top of an 8 x 8 raised bed, which means I was able to grow inside in addition to the vertical space. Last year I planted beans on the frame and basil on the interior, the harvest was incredible.
Vertical with Rod Iron and Rebar
I didn’t use a lot of rod iron in this garden because I have this hope to learn how to weld and make some really neat vertical structures of my own. We purchased a couple simple examples from Lowes and this year I used one for growing cucumbers. It’s tucked between two roses I propagated last summer and they’re all doing amazing.
In the distance you can even see I used a metal door where I trail chocolate mint. The possibilities to grow vertical are endless and the important thing is to be creative, think outside the box and stop doing what everybody else is doing.
Set the example and invent a new idea, then share it here because I’d love to see it.
This takes us to rebar and let me just say I would have never thought about using this element prior. A neighbor gave us a bunch of it and my first thought was take it to the garden and that’s where it went. Before long I had it stuck in the ground and discovered it was great frame work material and closing in the gaps with welded wire worked like a charm.
I’ve done several things with it, like growing beans in the shape of a circle and last year I grew watermelons which turned out really neat. Over the winter I decided it was the perfect place for another berry patch, these plants were propagated from the main plant and their growth is unstoppable.
If vertical gardening is an area of interest for your space discover ideas by first utilizing what you have and what will actually work for your location. Additional ideas can be found on Garden Up Green’s vertical Pinterest board here, it’s just a fun place for inspiration.
If you’ve already tried vertical gardening please feel welcome to share your ideas in the comments below, we’d love to hear what you’ve come up with.
Gardening vertical is a lot of fun; this farm garden showed me how to add interest while growing a thriving space. Just wait till you see what I’m going to do at the next property, vertical garden is moving with us!