Vertical Vegetable Garden: 15 Best Veggies to Grow

One doesn’t need to own a large yard, or plot of land to grow a vegetable garden. A little bit of space is needed to grow your plants upward in a vertical vegetable garden. Vertical gardens are an innovative and space-saving way to cultivate fresh produce right at home. They offer many benefits, they’re easy to maintain and even easier to harvest.

In this Article

  • Benefits of Going Vertical
    • Convenience
    • Saves Space
    • Healthy Plants
  • Starting a Vertical Vegetable Garden
  • Structures and Containers
  • Choose your Vegetables
    • Vegetables Growing on Vines
    • Root Vegetables
    • Other Vegetables
  • Maintenance and Harvesting
  • Companion Planting
  • FAQs

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Benefits of Going Vertical

Growing vegetables vertically offer numerous advantages for urban gardeners or those with limited space. Vertical gardens maximize the available space you have, use less soil, help to avoid pests and diseases, and provide a sustainable way to grow your own food. Vertical gardening not only adds a touch of greenery to your surroundings but promotes eco-conscious living.

Convenience: Maintaining a successful vegetable garden in a large space can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming endeavor—depending on the size of your space and what you are growing. Vertical gardening requires less soil, watering, and weeding. Because your plants are elevated and growing vertically, many are at eye level; making them easier to tend and harvest without much physical strain.

Saves Space: A vertical vegetable garden can be grown almost anywhere, whether it’s in your yard, on your patio or balcony, even along a fence. Whether you live in a rural, urban, or suburban location, vertical gardens are a great way to grow produce and maximize space. A small 2 x 3-foot space, grown vertically can provide plenty of vegetables.

Healthy Plants: Vertical gardens can often increase your yield. Planting vertically can improve air circulation and exposure to sunlight, providing ideal growing conditions. The plants should benefit from this better air circulation, and thus lessen pest, disease, and environmental issues.

Starting your Vertical Vegetable Garden

Like any garden, vertical gardens require proper care and attention to ensure successful growth. There are a few decisions and must haves to start with:

  • How much space you have available? Is it in one area or multiple areas?
  • Aspect of your garden where your plants receive at least 8 plus hours of sunlight daily.
  • Close to a water source for consistent watering and adequate drainage holes.
  • Use a nutrient-rich soil mix and consider using organic fertilizers to promote healthy growth.

Structures and Containers

Choosing the type of structure or container for your garden depends on your space, garden aspect, and what you are growing. New structures and containers can be expensive when starting a garden—think about using what you currently have or recycling items that aren’t necessarily made for plants.

Image by wal_172619 from Pixabay
  • Elevated Containers: Containers don’t have to be at ground level to be useful. Window boxes and other containers can be mounted on a railing, adding extra growing space on a deck, patio, or balcony. Different sizes of pots and containers can be nested together to create a garden tower for trailing veggies.
  • Hanging Containers: Containers can be hung from hooks along a wall or fence, the overhang of a roof and they all add another layer of vertical gardening.
  • Trellises: Train your veggies to grow up and up and up! Many climbing veggies will naturally make their way up different supports no matter the type. A-frames and teepee style trellises are goof for heavier vegetables that require more support.
  • Stacking Systems: One can maximize small spaces with these stacking planting systems. Come in several sizes for all types for flowers, veggies and herbs.
  • Green Walls: Attach pots or creative containers such as mason jars, plastic bottles, old boots, pails, and gutters, to name a few, to a fence, wall, or leaning board.
  • Pallets: Can be redesigned as a vertical garden to maximize space. Good for climbing vegetables or herbs.
  • Shelf Systems: Create your own shelf system by using an old ladder, containers, and wood shelves you already have. Place in a cozy corner to add color to a lackluster area.
  • Hydroponic Systems: For the more advanced vertical gardener, creating a hydroponic system may be the right decision with its efficient use of space.

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Choose your Vegetables

Once you have the perfect space and structures, consider the types of vegetables you’d like to plant. If you have a trellis, then vegetables growing on vines are the best or you have pots or hanging planters, root vegetables are recommended. It’s best to choose fruits and vegetables suitable for vertical growing.

Vine Vegetables: Pick climbing veggies for a vertical garden grown on a trellis, netting or even an arbor.

Image by Off Grid World
  • Peas: Are most often the first vegetable planted in the garden each spring due to its tolerance to cooler weather. The tendrils on the peas often need no help as the tendrils seek out the trellis or garden netting and will climb as high as you’ll allow.
  • Tomatoes: Perfect for vertical growth with proper support, tomatoes offer juicy rewards for your efforts. Tomatoes grown on a trellis need some attention as young benches easily bend and can wind through the trellis. As the stems thickens in girth, it can break. Spending a few minutes helping your plant climb the trellis or using plant clips can help keep this from happening.
  • Cucumbers: Vertically trained cucumber vines save space and keep the fruits off the ground, preventing rot. They grow heathier, straighter, and easier to harvest. Once you guide the vines through the trellis and its tendrils will reach out and climb. Look for bush or dwarf cucumber varieties for vertical gardening.
  • Melons: Yes, melons!! Melons can sprawl all over the ground, taking up space and are more susceptible to pests and soil-borne diseases. Growing melons up a trellis grow more in less space but will need a sturdy trellis and a hammock or melon holder for support.
  • Peppers: Compact and colorful, peppers flourish in vertical gardens and add a spicy kick to your dishes. Consider bell peppers or chili peppers for your vertical planters.
  • Beans: Vertical trellising encourages healthy bean vines and eases the harvesting process. Choose bush beans, lima beans, yardlong beans, or pole beans for vertical growth. Growing these on a A-frame keeps pests like potato bugs from enjoying these tasty veggies, and makes harvesting much easier
  • Zucchini: Compact varieties of zucchini can be trained vertically, saving space while producing tender squash. Look for bush or compact zucchini varieties.

Root Vegetables: Grow root vegetables vertically, but in a deep suspended pot system or raised garden bed just like you would in the ground.

  • Carrots: Varieties like “Paris Market” are suitable for vertical growth and yield sweet, tender roots. Choose shorter or mini carrot varieties that are well-suited for deeper vertical containers.
  • Radishes: Quick to mature and excellent for small spaces, radishes add a delightful crunch to your salads. Choose fast-growing and small-sized radish varieties for vertical gardening.
  • Beets: Suitable for vertical planters, beets provide earthy sweetness and nutritious greens. Look for compact or baby beet varieties for vertical gardening.
  • Onions and Scallions: These versatile vegetables adapt well to vertical gardening, offering a steady supply of flavors during the growing season. Choose vertical wall planters or raised garden bed for these vegetables.

Other Versatile Vegetables: Just like root vegetables, these need to go in suspended pots systems or other containers

  • Lettuce, Leafy Greens and Spinach: These fast-growing leaves are ideal for vertical planters. Loose-leaf lettuce varieties, baby greens or compact spinach varieties are a good choice for vertical gardening. Growing these leafy plants vertically helps deter wildlife who enjoy these for snacks.
  • Herbs: Fragrant and useful, herbs thrive in vertical planters. Utilize vertical wall planters or hanging containers for your favorite herbs and keep them close to your kitchen to use in all your dishes.

Maintenance and Harvesting

All vertical gardens require ongoing maintenance whether it’s a green wall, pallet system, containers, freestanding, or a pergola. Regularly inspect your garden for watering needs as these gardens dry out more quickly than in a traditional garden.  Look for signs of pests or diseases and treat them properly. Prune and train plants as they grow and remember to harvest your fresh vegetables at their peak of ripeness for the best flavor.

Companion Planting

Companion planting involves planting two plants near each other to create a one-way or mutually beneficial environment. Vegetable gardens can also benefit from companion planting. Some veggie combos bring out the best in one another or prevent common pests and disease problems. Tap here for more detailed information on companion planting.

  • Nasturtiums: Colorful vine flowers, often used as an addition to salads and soups as well as a great companion plant for vegetable gardens. You can plant nasturtiums with basil, beans, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, radish, and other vegetables to attract pollinators and to keep plants healthy, pest-free, and fertile.
  • Corn, pole beans, and squash: Also known as the “three sisters”. Corn—with its sturdy stems, provides upright support for climbing beans. For their part, the pole beans fix nitrogen in the soil, providing essential nutrients for all. And the large leaves of the ground-dwelling squash shade the soil, retain moisture, and block out weeds.
  • Cucumbers, sunflowers, and pole beans: Same principal as the three sisters above: the sunflower supports climbing pole beans, while cucumber vines shield the ground.
  • Parsley and tomatoes: Parsley attracts beneficial insects that help keep control of damaging insects that prey on tomato plants.
  • Basil and tomatoes: Considered “best friends” in the garden. Basil repels thrips and deters the habits of the moths that cause tomato hornworms.
  • Sage, with carrots or cabbage: Sage is a proven repellant for carrot flies and cabbage moths.

Final Thoughts

Vertical vegetable gardening opens the possibilities for growing vegetables in limited spaces. By selecting the right vegetables and following proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest from your garden. Embrace this sustainable and rewarding gardening technique to savor the joy of homegrown produce.


Q: Are there any vegetables that don’t grow well vertically? A: While most vegetables adapt well to vertical gardening, some root vegetables with large, deep roots may not be suitable. Stick to compact and vining varieties for better results.

Q: How often should I water my vertical garden? A: The watering frequency depends on the plants and environmental conditions. Generally, check the moisture level daily and water when the top inch of soil feels dry.

Q: Do I need any special tools to set up a vertical garden? A: Basic gardening tools like pruners, a trowel, and gloves will suffice. Additionally, you may need trellises or wall-mounted planters.

Q: Can I use recycled materials for my vertical garden? A: Yes, using recycled containers and materials is an eco-friendly approach. Just ensure they are clean and safe for growing plants.

Q: Is vertical gardening suitable for beginners? A: Absolutely! Vertical gardening is beginner-friendly and allows you to start small while gaining valuable gardening experience.

Q: How much time should I dedicate to maintaining a vertical vegetable garden? A: Like any garden, vertical vegetable gardens require regular care. Plan to spend at least a few hours each week on watering, pruning, and tending your plants.

Q: Can I grow herbs alongside my vegetables in a vertical garden? A: Absolutely! Herbs and vegetables often complement each other in a vertical garden. Consider planting herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro alongside your vegetables.

Q: What are the best materials for vertical planters? A: Vertical planters come in various materials, such as plastic, metal, wood, and fabric. Choose materials that are durable, lightweight, and suitable for your garden’s aesthetics.

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Emma Smith

My research into learning more about flowering vines on a trellis became much larger when I happened upon vertical gardening and all the advantages and benefits. Whether you’re interested in outdoor or indoor gardening, read on as I share my acquired knowledge.

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