Can Potted Plants Really Grow Up? Benefits of Vertical Gardening

Vertical container gardens are perfect to grow in a small space like a balcony or patio. Easy DIY vertical garden ideas that don’t cost a lot to start.

Those topsy turvy planters may have something hanging over those who do not have the space to grow a garden. I long to have my own planted garden in a yard someday. However, until then, I have to settle for a 10 by 4 ft balcony with potted plants.

I’d really like to know how to grow a “salad garden” with green peppers, lettuce, onion, carrots, radish, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs in my limited space. With this idea of a vertical garden, I may be able to grow my garden up – literally.

Benefits of growing a vertical garden

Small is nice (and convenient). When space is limited, vertical container gardening or a small garden bed is just what will work.  You’ll only need pots as deep as the roots will grow since your plants will grow upwards and not outwards. Less is more. You will still need some support poles or a trellis to train the plants to go up. 

Vertical tower pots and containers are perfect for a balcony or patio. Stacking pots or tower pots are commercial containers help you grow plants that don’t have a vine like strawberries, lettuce, carrots, onions, etc. As a bonus, you can add a trellis or other supports in containers or put behind containers to create your vertical garden in a small space like a balcony or patio. You can also hang containers on a wall at different heights to create an visually appealing vertical garden.

Vertical tower pots get your plants to grow up in a small space.

Think outside the clay pot.Be creative about the containers for your vertical garden. Why buy new clay or plastic pots, when you probably have something out in your garage or shed that would work just fine. Extra gutter pieces or cinder blocks taking up some space in the corner? Even an old milk crate would work. Look at the photos below for some inspiration.

Use extra gutter pieces to create a vertical garden. Courtesy of

More fruit in half the space.Since your garden is growing upward and using less soil, you’ll find that the fruits of your labor will reward you much more than traditional gardens. Use a support system behind and/or beside your plants and allow about 6 inches away from a wall or fence so plants can produce fruit on all sides.

Build your own support system for a vertical garden like this one above. Courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune.
Less energy and muscle strain to harvest. Remember your grandmother’s stories of how she had an aching back from bending over while picking tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables from the garden? With a vertical garden, you won’t have to suffer so much although you may have to reach above your head if your plants reach their maximum height. It will be much easier to see and harvest your fruit, herbs and vegetables when they are growing up rather than across the ground. 

You’ll find more information in the book Vertical Gardening,  by Derek Fell available through my AmazonStore.

Green Events: Mother Earth News Fair Sept 24-25, 2011

Looking for a green event that is both convenient, fun, entertaining, sustainable and worth the trip to Pennsylvania’s countryside for 2 days. You’re in luck, the Mother Earth News Fair will take place September 24 – 25, 2011 in beautiful Seven Springs, PA.

What you need to know about this year’s green event:

What: One of the largest sustainable, green events in the Northeast; more than 150 workshops, special guests, booths and educational opportunities to learn, hear, see and experience everything you wanted to know about sustainable living and eating.

Cost: Advance tickets can purchased through Sept. 20, 2011 online here for only $15 or at the gate for $20 for ages 18 and older.

When: Friday and Saturday, September 24-25, 2011

Hours: Saturday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m; Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Seven Springs, PA; 60 minutes Southeast of Pittsburgh, see map here.

Special guest speakers that you don’t want to miss:

Ed Begley Jr. – Keynote Speaker – One of the country’s most popular greener living advocates and author will be speaking about “Live Simply, So That Others May Simply Live” as well as selling his most popular eco-living books and will be available for a book-signing during the fair. Don’t miss Begley’s opening keynote address!

Linda Conroy, Moonwise Herbs – Meet and listen to Conroy’s expert advice about using regional herbs and herb growing. Fresh herbs are easy to grow and use in daily cooking. You can learn to recognize different types of herbs that may even be growing in your backyard or fields near you.

Harvey Ussery, The Modern Homestead – Learn about the benefits of raising chickens in today’s world. More than eggs and chicken wings, chickens can also contribute to controlling weeds and insects in your garden. Ussery will also host workshops on converting organic waste to resources and Chickens in the Garden at this year’s Mother Earth News Fair.


Learn more about the Mother Earth News Fair on their website and blog and don’t miss any other green, sustainable events by subscribing to their newsletter as well.

What are you waiting for? Visit the website and order your tickets today and save $5!