Are you dreaming about your own garden but worried it might be difficult because you don’t have an abundance of space? Maybe you live in an apartment, a house with a small yard, or somewhere in the middle of a city. Thankfully, you don’t have to live on a farm to get started growing a garden! With urban gardening becoming more and more popular, there are plenty of ways to grow some of your own food, even if your available space is super small. One of the best ways to grow food in a small space is to utilize vertical space. Here are some creative vertical garden ideas to help you grow your own food!

vertical herb garden in pallet

Vertical Gardening for Growing in Small Spaces

Gardening doesn’t have to be reserved for the countryside! In recent years, more and more city folks are starting to set up their own gardens. Considering everything that is going on in the world, lots of people are worried about the quality of fruits and veggies. But, many of us feel that organically grown vegetables are still pretty expensive and thus inaccessible. 

The lockdowns and supply chain disruption a few years ago due to Covid-19 have additionally changed our relationship towards the idea of having a garden. People started feeling that they could have more greens at their disposal. The best way to stay healthy is to eat healthily, and there is nothing more beneficial than freshly grown goods. 

However, many people with a newly discovered desire for gardening may be perplexed about ways to grow in a small garden space. We are happy to inform you that there is a solution to your problems! Have you ever heard about a vertical garden for vegetables? 

What is a Vertical Garden?

A vertical garden has a lot of names – living wall, living green wall, live wall, moss wall, etc. In all honesty, it is not difficult to understand vertical garden ideas just after hearing the name. This way of gardening is the opposite of a standard horizontal garden.  Many vertical garden systems can be installed both indoors and outdoors. 

Vertical gardens are a truly wonderful alternative for everyone living in the city or if you are dealing with limited space.  Many of us have the experience of growing veggies in pots. However, we usually realize that this takes too much space – the vertical garden at home, fortunately, doesn’t. You can even grow a vertical garden with a significant yield on an apartment balcony!

Benefits of Vertical Gardening

One of the main benefits of vertical gardening is that it enables people living in small apartments or houses without ample gardening space to enjoy organic gardening.  It requires less work, and you are less likely to deal with weeds in comparison with a traditional garden.

vertical garden ideas | garden tower on balcony

Plants to Grow in a Vertical Garden

There are a variety of plants- ornamental and edible- that thrive in this type of garden. However, you will need to consider root space, the way the plant grows, and the upward growing space for your specific setup. Some types of plants that grow well on a trellis (ex. Pole beans or cucumbers) may not do well in a vertical garden tower.

Plants to Grow in a Vertical Tower System & Planters

  • Herbs
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Arugula and other greens
  • Strawberries
  • Peppers

Plants to Grow Vertically on Trellises

  • Peas
  • Pole Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Winter Squash, including pumpkins
  • Melons

Learn how you can grow bumper crop of vegetables even in a small raised bed (+ how to build your own DIY Cedar Raised Bed!)

6 Vertical Garden Ideas for Vegetables & Herbs

These simple vertical garden ideas will allow you to grow food without the need for much space. Consider the plants you would like to grow and the resources you have to choose the right method(s) for your family.

1. Vertical Shelf or Ladder Garden 

This first vertical gardening idea is pretty straightforward. You can place planter boxes on shelves or on rungs of a ladder (or something built to resemble a ladder). It is best for the shelves or the ladder rungs to be slatted so the water that drains out doesn’t pool under the planters. 

2. Wall-Mounted Planters

You can purchase (or make) planter boxes that can be mounted directly on a wall. If you don’t have wall space available, you can also mount these on a wooden pallet. These wall planters can be mounted as close together as you need to maximize space, but consider the mature height of the plants so you can space them appropriately. 

3. Using Pipes & Gutters for Vertical Gardening

Believe it or not, but some people use PVC pipes to make a vertical garden. Some are a bit concerned about it because they think that this is not the best material to grow food. In many cases, they do have a point, but it is vital to know that some pipes are perfectly safe. To know which one is, you should check for recycling numbers and avoid the pipes labeled with 3, 6, and 

To grow in a PVC pipe, you can add a lid to the bottom, poke drainage holes, drill plant-sized holes in the sides, add soil, and use it as a planting tower. OR you can turn the pipes horizontally and hang them from a fence or other vertical structure. 

A gutter garden is another budget option for a small space vertical garden. Gutters can be hung on fences or in free-standing supports. Fill them with soil, add drainage holes, and add you plants.  

NWTN Nourishing Connections PVC Garden
A Farm Girl in the Making Gutter Garden

4. Vertical Garden on a Trellis

Climbing plants need a trellis to stabilize them as they grow. A trellis can be made of many different materials. Most farm & feed stores have pre-built trellises made of wood or metal. You can also use a lattice fence, a cattle panel, or any other material with a grid that can be placed vertically. 

I have a small piece of white lattice attached to t-posts in my garden. I use this to grow cucumbers. There is also an old crib springboard that I use to grow beans. Growing plants vertically on a trellis will save space and keep the plants off of the ground. 

5. Vertical Garden Tower

Garden towers have become very popular over the last couple of years. There are some great vertical tower options on the market, but you can also find tiers for your garden tower at Dollar Tree. If you purchase the planting tiers from Dollar Tree, make sure that you poke out the drainage holes and drill a hole in the center to slide them onto a t-post or other stabilizing pole. 

Mama on the Homestead Garden Tower

Growing in a tower allows you to grow a large amount of food without taking up more than a couple feet of floor space. Towers are excellent for a vertical herb garden, greens, strawberries, and anything else that grows upward without needing to vine. 

6. Vertical Pallet Garden

Old wooden pallets can be used to build everything from compost bins to fences. A vertical garden bed falls somewhere in the middle of that project list. 

You can make your wood pallet garden as fancy as you want, but it can be as simple as adding landscape fabric to the back of the wooden pallets, securing a solid bottom (placing a board on the bottom works), filling it with soil, and poking your plants into the soil between the slats. Now you can lean them against a wall to expand the growing capacity of any vertical space.

Wooden Pallet Garden

Having a garden in urban areas and small spaces is beneficial in many regards. It improves the appearance of your apartment and neighborhood, cleans the air, and provides you with healthy vegetables and fruits. Furthermore, it is proven that gardening reduces stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. As you can see, there are plenty of ways of growing a beautiful garden, even if your city apartment is small. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You need only some time and creativity to make your dream come true!

Have you tried about vertical gardening before? What do you think about it?

Original content from Homemakerguide in 2021- updated by Homesteaders of America in 2024

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Want to grow your own food but you are worried because you don't have abundant garden space? Check out these vertical garden ideas!
Want to grow your own food but you are worried because you don't have abundant garden space? Check out these vertical garden ideas!