5 Best Fruits & Veggies for Vertical Growing In Small Spaces

Not much garden space? Try these 5 fruits & veggies for vertical growing to save space & improve harvests!

Whether you’re living in an apartment or a small city lot, for those of us with limited space to garden, the need to optimize limited space while maintaining a bountiful harvest is a constant challenge. Growing vertically provides an ingenious solution that can provide you with more food than you ever imagined from a small amount of garden space.

By utilizing space-saving vertical growing techniques such as trellises and containers, you can transform a few seeds into a bountiful harvest!

Here are a few more awesome benefits of growing vertically, according to RuralSprout.com:

  • grow more food in less space
  • harvest cleaner fruits and vegetables
  • make watering, pruning, and fertilizing easier
  • keep crops off the ground decreasing the chance of diseases
  • grow a natural privacy screen
  • create a microclimate for more sensitive fruit trees

Imagine being able to transform a small balcony, courtyard, or even a sunny windowsill into a thriving vegetable garden! By utilizing vertical space and harnessing the power of vertical gardening techniques, you can unlock a world of possibilities and enjoy an astonishing array of homegrown vegetables, herbs, and fruits.

Here are just a few of the incredible edibles you can grow vertically:

#1. Summer & Winter Squashes & Gourds

One of the best veggies for vertical growing is squash. Many summer and winter squash varieties are avid climbers. They love to grow upwards, and you don’t need a fancy trellis – just about any type of fence or sturdy support structure will do. In fact, I’ve even had vining squashes climb 15 feet up a nearby tree! (Harvesting was interesting…) Instead of letting them trail on the ground and hog up all your vertical space (which they WILL do), give them a vertical support system and let them climb according to their natural tendencies.

These types of squash are great for growing up a trellis:

  • calabash
  • patty pan squash
  • yellow summer squash
  • butternut squash
  • sugar pie pumpkin (and other pumpkins)
  • pink banana squash
  • luffa (loofah)

Non-vining summer squashes such as zucchinis can also be space hogs, so planting these in containers can help save precious horizontal ground space.

#2. Cucumbers

Growing cucumbers vertically is a good idea for many reasons. Like squash, cucumbers love to climb, so they’ll happily climb up a trellis, teepee, or other vertical structure. You can even grow them in a hanging basket!

Prone to powdery mildew and other fungal diseases, keeping cucumbers up off the ground will help keep the plants healthy and productive. The fruits will also grow more uniformly and look better if they don’t touch the soil, which can cause rot, discoloration, and misshapen growth.

#3. Melons

Related to cucumbers, melons also have a vining habit, and can take over your garden if you’re not careful!

While melons such as watermelons and cantaloupes take well to vertical growing, you will want to make sure you have a way to support the fruits if they get large. You can use homemade slings or built-in shelves in your trellis, or simply choose varieties with smaller fruits (less than 10 lbs is ideal).

#4. Beans & Peas

Pole beans and peas are some of the easiest veggies to grow vertically. You don’t need a fancy trellis for these either – they will pretty much grow up any vertical support. Try these ideas, for example:

  • use the Three Sisters technique (planting corn, squash, and beans together)
  • create a bean (or pea) tipi
  • make an A-frame with string
  • weave jute (or other natural twine) between wood posts
  • let them climb up a hazel or bamboo pole

Growing these veggies vertically not only saves space, but promotes good airflow around the leaves, reducing the risk of mildew and other diseases. It also keeps them out of reach of garden pests such as slugs and hungry bunnies!

#5. Strawberries

Strawberries don’t really climb the way some of the veggies mentioned above do, but their drooping habit makes them perfect for hanging baskets or containers! These are great for planting in pots around your patio, and you can harvest more easily (and prevent mold and rot) from a hanging basket or pot, rather than leaving them to trail on the ground.

BONUS – #6:

An additional crop you might not have thought about growing in your vertical garden is hops.

While most people think of hops as an ingredient in beer, did you know you can also eat the young vines and shoots in the spring? Rural Sprout says you can:

Eat the hop shoots raw, in salads, sautéed in butter or bacon grease, grilled, or even pickled. They taste like asparagus or better.

Let hops grow grandly (12-15′) over your trellis or fence, then harvest the flowers for tea in autumn.

So there you have it! Add these viny veggies to your garden using vertical growing methods, and you’ll be able to grow lots of abundant and delicious food in limited space.


Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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