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How to Use Ladders in the Garden

I love repurposing vintage items, and space in the garden is often limited. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for both problems…ladders! Ladders in the garden are an easy way to add architectural interest and vertical space to your garden. Is your garden short on garden space and lacking vintage flair? Give ladders in the garden a try.

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Why add ladders in the garden?

  1. Space Efficiency: Ladders allow you to take advantage of vertical space, making them perfect for small gardens, patios, or balconies where horizontal space is limited.
  2. Increased Plant Health: Vertical gardening can help improve air circulation around plants, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. It also makes it harder for some pests to reach the plants.
  3. Ease of Maintenance: Plants on a ladder are easier to reach for pruning, watering, and harvesting. This can make gardening tasks less strenuous.
  4. Aesthetically Pleasing: A garden ladder can add visual interest to your garden. It can be painted or decorated to match the style of your outdoor space.
  5. Versatility: Garden ladders can be used to grow a variety of plants, including herbs, flowers, and small fruits and vegetables. They’re also great for displaying potted plants.
  6. Accessibility: For people with mobility issues, raising the plants off the ground can make gardening more accessible and enjoyable.
  7. Increased Yield: By growing plants vertically, you can often grow more plants in the same space, potentially increasing your yield.
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Remember, when using a ladder for vertical gardening, ensure it’s sturdy enough to support the weight of the plants and positioned in a spot where it won’t easily tip over.

I can almost hear you thinking… “Where can I find a ladder?”

Look around your yard. You may have one leaning against the side of your house. If not, you’re sure to see one at a yard sale or on your next trip to Goodwill. I didn’t pay more than $5 for any of the four ladders in my garden. The tallest ladder was given to me for free when my mom upgraded her wooden ladder to a lighter aluminum one!  

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Check online sellers like Offer-Up and Facebook Marketplace for ladders.

Once you find your ladder, let me walk you through where to position it

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An important consideration is deciding if you want to maximize sunlight for your plants or provide them with some shade.

  • To maximize sunlight, position the ladder on the north edge of your garden bed or next to a fence or wall.
  • Alternatively, shade sun-sensitive plants in hotter regions by having the ladder on the south side, filtering the sunlight for plants that need relief from the sun.
  • Be smart when using trellises, and think about the placement to get the maximum benefit and not have unintended consequences of shading plants.
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Why use a ladder to garden vertically?

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Depending on the size of the ladder, they offer a lot of room and a large area for the plants to grow up.

  • Gardening vertically allows more sunlight, air, and pollinators to reach your plants. The added sunlight, airflow, and pollinators also increase production. You’ll harvest extra produce more easily because you don’t have to hunch over and search for the fruits of your labors.
  • They are removable. If you don’t want them for one season, it’s easy to remove and store the ladders until needed.
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Many crops I plant in winter aren’t vining, so I don’t need the ladders, and I take them out.

One last tip when using ladders in the garden:

Maximize your garden space with ladder gardening. Learn how ladders boost plant health and add aesthetic charm to any outdoor area.

Some plants have tendrils that reach out and find the ladder on their own. Others need help finding the ladder but will climb up on their own

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Other plants need you to tie or attach them to the ladder. Keep an eye on your plants, and help them if needed.

As you walk through your garden each day, tuck and wrap plants around your ladder as needed.

The result of using ladders in the garden? Healthy, happy plants and beautiful architectural interest. Give ladders in the garden a try.

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Vertical Gardening: 10 Vegetables that Love to Climb

Looking for ideas of vegetables that would love to climb up a ladder in the garden? This article shares 10 of my favorite.

Vertical Gardening Ideas

Looking for more ways to add vertical space to your garden? Check out this article

Visual planting guides for vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers & vines.

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