Vertical vegetable gardening saves space, helps avoid pests and disease, makes harvesting easier, and adds beauty to your garden. But, which vegetables are best grown vertically?
In this article, I share 10 vegetables that love to climb (in no particular order… a gardener can’t play favorites).
Vertical Gardening: 10 Vegetables that Love to Climb
#1 - Peas
Peas tolerate cooler weather and are often the first vegetable planted in the garden each spring. The tendrils on peas seek out the trellis and happily climb, often needing no help climbing as high as you will let them.
Read this article to learn more about how to grow peas.
Vertical Gardening Vegetable #2 - Tomatoes
Growing tomatoes vertically keeps the plant upright, and prevents the stems from breaking from heavy fruit or wind. Trellising tomatoes also keeps the leaves off the ground which helps reduce diseases. Fruit is easier to harvest when it is off the ground as well.
Tomatoes grown on a trellis need attention from time to time. Young branches easily bend and can be wound through the trellis. As the stems thicken and age, they are more likely to break. It’s best to spend a little time every few days helping your tomato plant climb up the trellis. These plant clips from Amazon are helpful when clipping them to the trellis.
Read this article to learn more about how to grow tomatoes.
#3 - Loofah
Loofah gourds grow on a vigorous vine (over 10 feet long). Be sure to give them plenty of room to grow and a trellis for support. Growing loofah vertically keeps fruit up off the ground and encourages the fruit to grow long and straight. Loofah climbs a trellis easily on its own.
Read this article to learn more about how to grow loofah.
Vertical Gardening Vegetable #4 - Melons
Vines from melons can easily sprawl all over the garden, taking up valuable space. Growing these fruits up a trellis helps you grow more in less space. Vining melons grown on the ground are also more susceptible to pests and soil-borne diseases. Larger melons such as watermelons require a sturdy trellis and some sort of hammock or melon holder.
#5 - Tomatillos
Large and sprawling tomatillo branches are somewhat brittle. Trellising tomatillos makes harvesting easier and broken branches less of a problem. The branches do not have tendrils, and I’ve had success clipping the branches onto the trellis with these plant clips from Amazon.
Read this article to learn more about how to grow tomatillos.
Vertical Gardening Vegetable #6 - Yardlong beans
Also called asparagus beans, the long vines climb easily up a trellis that reaches 6 feet or more. Growing yardlong or asparagus beans on a trellis keeps pests (like potato bugs) from enjoying the fruits of your labor. Growing this vegetable vertically also makes harvesting easier because the beans hang down and are easier to spot among the leaves.
Other beans that love to climb are pole beans and lima beans. Read this article to learn more about how to grow beans.
#7 - Malabar spinach
A summer spinach alternative for warm climate areas, Malabar spinach vines can reach 10 to 20 feet or longer. The vines grow best on a sturdy trellis. Once it reaches the trellis, Malabar spinach has no problem growing up the vine without guidance or additional support.
Read this article to learn more about how to grow Malabar spinach.
Vertical Gardening Vegetable #8 - Cucumbers
Cucumbers grown vertically are healthier, straighter, and easier to harvest. Guide cucumber vines through the trellis when it begins to grow, and its tendrils will reach out and climb. Trellising the plants also gives other crops room to grow as cucumber vines can quickly take over a raised bed.
Read this article to learn more about how to grow cucumbers.
#9 - Cucamelons
This tasty vegetable has an abundance of fine-leaved vines and does best grown vertically. Once the delicate vines reach the trellis, the tendrils climb it easily. The miniature watermelon fruit are easy to harvest when cucamelons are grown on a trellis.
Vertical Gardening Vegetable #10 - Winter squash
Vining winter squash can sprawl 10 to 20 feet or more. Growing the vegetable vertically saves space, prevents disease, and keeps the bugs from hiding under the large leaves. Spend time every day or two wrapping the vines through the trellis, and the tendrils will latch on and support the growing vine. Most winter squash fruit can be supported by the vine. However, larger fruit will benefit from some sort of hammock or melon holder. This post tells more about how to grow winter squash.