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What Vegetables Grow Best Vertically?

Have you ever seen a wild tomato vine? It sprawls over the ground, climbs over other plants, and wraps itself around whatever it can find. That's great for the tomato vine, but it's not so great for any other plants nearby.


If you want to grow a vining plant like an indeterminate tomato, its best to tame their wild nature just a bit and give them a nice, tall trellis to climb up.



Before we get into which fruits and veggies you can train up a panel, obelisk, or arch trellis, let's look at the five reasons you should consider vertical gardening if you haven't already given it a try.


Vertical gardening gives plants room to stretch out

Rather than spreading horizontally over the ground, trellises help plants grow vertically and give them all the growing space they need. Some plants will flat out refuse to produce fruits if they feel cramped, so it's important to have a tall trellis with evenly spaced rungs for the tendrils of your plants to find.


Vertical gardening keeps plants healthier

Holding plants up and off the ground helps their leaves and fruits stay clean and dry, which prevents mold, disease, and pest pressure. The veggies around your vertical plants will be happier, too. They'll enjoy better airflow, receive more sunlight, and find space of their own to stretch out.


Vertical gardening gives you more available growing space

While your vines are climbing up and over your trellis, smaller plants can be growing at their base. You now have all the vertical space along your trellises and all the horizontal space across your raised bed surface to grow your favorite plants. Adding a trellis to your garden is like building a second and a third story onto your house.


Look at all that free growing space in the newly planted garden below.



Vertical gardening makes harvesting easier

I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of sticking my hand into a jumbled mess of leaves to feel around for something I want to eat—not with the snakes and spiders we have in Central Texas! Trellises save you the trouble by holding the vines and their fruits upright, where you can easily find them and harvest them.


Vertical gardening is just prettier

We might be biased on this one, but we strongly believe that raised beds with trellises just look better. Even without a lush green plant attached to the rungs, trellises still manage to add beauty and grandeur to a garden.



Fruit and Veggie Plants That Grow Best Vertically

The chart below contains a list of our favorite edible plants to grow up a trellis, plus their ideal growing season.

Edible Plants

Growing Season

snow peas

cool season

sugar snap peas

cool season

fava beans

cool season

cherry and grape tomatoes

warm season

cucumbers

warm season

pole beans

warm season

tomatillos

warm / hot season

malabar spinach

warm / hot season

winter squash

warm / hot season

melons

warm / hot season

​cucuamelons

warm / hot season

luffa gourds

hot season

asparagus beans / snake beans

hot season

Armenian cucumbers

hot season

As soon as a plant from one season is finishing up, you can plant something for the next growing season at its base that will soon take over your trellises.




Non-edible Plants to Grow Vertically

If you'd prefer to have beautiful flowers growing up your trellises, you could grow sweet peas over winter (just make sure everyone in your household knows not to eat from these poisonous plants). In the spring and fall (our warm seasons), you could grow climbing nasturtiums, passion vine, or hyacinth beans. And during our hot, hot summers, you could grow passion vine or coral vine.



Tips for a Healthy Vertical Garden

Some vines will wrap their tendrils around your trellis and climb up on their own, while others could use a little assistance to make sure they're secure.


Use twine to hold your tomato vines and sugar snap peas in place by tying loose bows that still allow the plant to move in the wind and continue its growth.



And that's all there is to it! Now all you have to do is pick a trellis for your backyard garden and start growing your favorite plants vertically!


If you need a little help getting your kitchen garden set up and growing, book a consultation with us today. We find joy in helping our community of kitchen gardeners grow in all ways!





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