Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vertical Elements: For Beauty and Function

I practice permaculture on a very small plot of land. One area that is 6' x 10' and one area that is 6' x 20'. How do I grow soo much food then? The answer is in the air!

No, I'm not suggesting that the air in my garden is any different than the air in yours, actually what I mean is that I garden UP!

Adding vertical elements to your garden can be fun, beautiful and remarkably productive. Consider the summer squash; zucchini, yellow squash, sunburst, etc. Summer squashes grow on vines that like to sprawl out and tend to take over. Instead of allowing my squashes to grow all over my other plants, I train them up trellises I built exactly for this purpose! Now I have a beautiful vertical element in my garden that allows me to grow squashes all summer long and only uses about 8"-12" of actual on-the-ground garden space!

Here are a few examples of trellising:
Above is a lovely example of how an urban farmer built a ladder-trellis for his zuchini plants! (picture taken in SE Portland) You can also see some other vertical ideas in the background using a frame and net technique.

Also in SE Portland here is a large garden with many teepee style vertical elements!

The basic hint here is BE CREATIVE. Grow up (literally) and save yourself space and have a more productive garden that gives you luscious veggies and a peaceful sanctuary. You might even play with using vertical elements as borders in your space, shielding your garden from the road, neighbors.

I wanted to share something from my own life as well. I was at the nursery the other day and told the cashier that I had gotten done with work early and that was why I was there at 2pm.

He replied, "well now you're making a whole bunch of more work for yourself with all these plants!"

I smiled back and told him, "this is not work, it's therapy."

Thanks all, as always feel free to ask questions!

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