Is your garden short on garden space and lacking vintage flair? Give ladders in the garden a try.

tips for using 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.

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Why add ladders in the garden?

  • add a fun architectural element to the garden
  • training plants up a trellis gives you more space to garden
  • being up off the ground is better for vining plants
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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 your next trip to Goodwill. I didn’t pay more than $5 for any of the 4 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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Once you find your ladder, let me walk you through (… but not under !!!) where to position it.

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

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  • 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 your placement so you get the maximum benefit and don’t have unintended consequences of shading plants.
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What are the benefits to plants of using ladders in the garden?

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  • Ladders are great because, 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. You’ll also see the fruits and harvest them at their peak rather than when they are the size of baseball bats.
  • They are removable. If you don’t want them one season, it’s easy to remove and store the ladders until needed. For example, many crops I plant in winter aren’t vining so I don’t need the ladders and I take them out.
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One last tip when using ladders in in the garden:

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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. Other plants need you to tie or attach them to the ladder. Keep an eye on your plants, and help them if they need it. 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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Looking for vegetables to grow on your ladder?

"Growing UP in the Garden" - Facebook Live for Kellogg Garden

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

tips for using ladders in the garden
tips for using ladders in the garden