Have you always wanted a vegetable garden but are short on space? Vertical gardens can give you the garden you crave by using the space you have more strategically.
You may have seen them before — tall walls with plants that grow up and down instead of out. They allow you to grow veggies in spaces you previously thought weren’t optimal.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to rig your yard, porch, or balcony to accommodate a thriving vegetable garden.
Here are six ideas to get your DIY vertical vegetable garden growing.
Depending on what you want to grow, a trellis can be the perfect start. If you already have one, even better! If not, check your local home improvement store for a trellis that fits your space and needs.
Plant vine plants, like squash, peas, beans, and cucumbers, in a small box at the base of your trellis. As the sprouts grow into bigger plants, they will grab onto the trellis and climb until eventually there is fruit hanging from the vines.
If you plan to plant a heavier vegetable, like a gourd, make sure your trellis can handle the weight. Opt for a heavier-duty trellis or reinforce the one you have.
Hanging Baskets, Pots, or Bottles
Imagine popping out onto your balcony and having pots on pots of fresh rosemary, thyme, dill, oregano, chives, cilantro, basil, and more to clip and throw into your meal. Just divine!
Strawberries and tomatoes also grow surprisingly well from hanging baskets.
Plant strawberries in a basket as you would plant them in any other container or in the ground. Let the plant grow as normal and let the fruit hang from the basket.
You can do the same thing with tomatoes (or plant them at the base of a trellis like peas), or you can plant them upside down.
Cut a small hole in the base of a hanging basket, just big enough for the stalk of a young tomato plant to get through. Take the plant out of its plastic garden center pot, flip it, and wiggle the stalk through the hole. Then fill the pot as you would any other pot. If you like, you can add a few more holes for drainage on the bottom or sides of the pot.
Wooden pallet vertical gardens are super convenient since most of your structure is already built!
There are a few steps to building this garden. First, you’ll want to stand it upright and add some panels to the bottom of some of the slats to create a base for your plants. After you’ve filled in the gaps, mount this new garden to a wall or fence or something to keep it stable and upright.
Fill your little beds with soil and seeds, sprouts, or plants, and you’re set! If you aren’t adding holes for drainage, water plants in the pallet slowly to prevent overwatering.
Hanging Shoe Organizer
This is another quick and convenient DIY vertical vegetable garden since your structure is ready to go.
Instead of hanging this in your closet, hang it outside. If your organizer is made of a fabric that allows water to flow through it you don’t need to add drainage holes. If it’s something less porous, like plastic, puncture a few holes in the cubbies. Then get planting!
Tower of Pots
Some garden centers already have some pre-made options for pot towers. But if you’re specifically looking to DIY this, there is a couple of ways to pull it off.
Layer It Like a Cake
Grab a few pots in varying sizes. You’ll be stacking them all, so make sure that once they’re stacked, there will be a few inches around the bottom of each pot for plants to grow.
Fill your biggest pot with soil and put the next smallest pot on top of it. You can center it or put it to one side, whatever style suits you best. Fill it with soil and repeat the step with the remaining pots. Go ahead and plant your fruits, veggies, or herbs in the containers.
You can add another, upside-down pot, a vertical cinder block, or a wooden block into each pot before filling it with soil. This will help support the weight of the pots above.
Layer Around a Pole or Post
Grab a few pots of varying sizes, making sure that there will be space for plants after they’ve been stacked. You’ll also need a pole or post to help support the weight of the pots once they are filled with soil and plants.
If you have the opportunity, you can mount the pole to the ground. Drill or cut a hole in the bottom of the biggest pot (the one that you’ll use for the base) and slide it over the top of the pole and down to the floor so the pole is through the pot. Fill it in and grab your next pot.
Place the second, third, fourth, etc. layers upright or on an angle, whichever you prefer. Drill or cut holes through the rest of the pots according to how you want them to sit. Slide them on the pole, fill them in, and plant away.
You can use additional supports in the pots around the pole again here to help support the weight of the pots above it.
Reuse an Old Shelving Unit or Dresser
If you have an old shelving unit, dresser, or other storage solution that’s similar, you can use this as a vertical garden.
Build or buy smaller pots and planters to use on the shelves. Then plant your veggies and put them on the shelves. Be strategic in how you place your pots because if they are on a lower shelf and too far back, they won’t get as much sun. Place your plants at the front of the shelving unit and face it toward the sun.
You will need a little more space for this one, but it ends up being really cute.
Pull out some drawers so they are open but still in the dresser, alternating as you go. Punch a few small holes in the bottom of the drawers to help with drainage.
If your dresser drawers are shallow, root veggies aren’t the best fit. But this can work for strawberries or some herbs.
These ideas are all great starting points — now all you have to do is determine which solution works best for you!
Whether you’re reusing something from around the house or are building a completely new structure, vertical gardens will help you maximize the space you have and grow fresh veggies wherever you live.
Do you have a vertical garden? Drop some of your favorite hacks in the comments.