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Gardening Vertically: Fad, Emerging Frontier or Long-Overlooked Art Form
Sure, it makes sense that there's a buzz about vertical gardening-there are lots more of us to feed these days with much less productive land. "Let's make the best use of our diminishing resources," many are saying. And likely there are also those who dismiss vertical gardening as a fad. Mostly, though, I hear talk about increased yields. However, I suspect there are vertical gardeners like myself who have been surprised by another aspect we hadn't expected.
"Necessity is the mother of invention," is a cliché often quoted, and human food requirements necessitate sponging-up sunlight at smaller and smaller focal points. My wife, Vicki, and I have a small yard, and somewhat out of necessity we began years ago building what began as rather makeshift trellises. Somewhere along our way, it had dawned on us that vining plants, such as cucurbits, those that produce melons, squash, cucumbers and pumpkins, are much like grape vines, their vines produce tendrils that secure to structures so they can climb as they grow.
Commercial farmers still grow cucurbits on the ground, but home gardeners realized long ago that these vining plants are more adapted to growing upward. Of course, home gardeners support cucurbit vines on trellises of all sorts and have devised many ingenious, albeit awkward, means of providing support to heavy melons, pumpkins or squash while they are yet ripening and suspended.
We began to desire a more scientific and artistic approach to vertical gardening and to building a vertical garden structure. We searched in vain for a guidebook to how to build one that is both aesthetic and engineered to be vine-friendly, and finally resigned to sketching our own design and years ago we built our first vertical garden structure. As the next season progressed, we were amazed to see squash and melon vines rise to heights over our heads.
Each year since, we have been delighted by astounding yields and our harvests of both heirlooms and hybrids (see photos at our website). We have harvested mouth-watering melons whose flavors are unmatched by the "store-boughts," and we store enough squash each year that it is mid-April before we cook and savor the last of our trophies. As pleasurable as it is to bite into these orbs of sweetness and palate sensation, though, there is another thrill exclusive to vertical gardening that may eclipse these joys.
Vines grown vertically are artful all by themselves as they twist about and their tendrils reach and spiral. We've observed, though, that with a little pruning and directional coaxing using garden ties, they can be guided to achieve magnificent form and function. Each day of the growing season we can step over to our vertical garden to find wondrous surprises.
The magnificence of vines grown vertically tugs gently at our subtler nature until we begin to awaken to a certain glimpse of the sublime. The joys experienced when tending vines may be akin to what one feels when listening to corn grow during the hush of dawn. I 've fallen into awe sometimes while cultivating and coaxing vines to grow left or right or up or down to fill our garden structure. I am eager already for next season, when I will experiment again with varieties strange to me and surely be amazed anew.
©2005 Steven J. Townsend. All Rights Reserved.
Steve and Vicki Townsend share hundreds of vertical gardening shortcuts and secrets in e-books you can download at http://www.gardensup.com.
Choosing the Perfect Landscape Painting
Landscape paintings are a beautiful way to spruce up the decor of your home. Although you can buy cheap reproduced paintings, you may want to consider purchasing an original from an artist to reduce the risk of a friend obtaining the same one.
Summer Lawn Care Tips
Summer is just around the corner, and your lawn could probably use a little maintenance before the summer season of backyard BBQs and swimming in the pool. So what are you doing now to get your lawn ready? Lawn care is often feared as a difficult and time intensive process, but with a few guidelines and tips, you can easily have a healthy green lawn in time for the first backyard party of the season.
Adirondack Chairs - How to Care for and Clean Them
Different from any other chair, the Adirondack chair was first created in the late 1800s by Thomas Lee as a means of making something exceptionally comfortable, affordable, and a chair that could be used in the house or backyard. What makes this chair so unique is the overall design.
Closing Up Your Container Garden
All good things eventually come to an end and so summer is waning, even as autumn gives most of us a fresh start. I'll bet your summer container plantings aren't really benefiting, though, from the "back to school-oh I love a clean notebook" boost and aren't dying as gracefully as summer itself is.
Lawn Care Business Owners - Dont Buy Yourself A Job
Most businesses consist of the owner only or the owner and a few employees. The owner continues to do the same activity whether it is labor or crew management for many years.
Orange Perennials For Your Garden
Perennials are wonderful because, they bloom year after year. Sometimes, I forget that I even have them planted and then they spring up to my surprise and delight! I like to add some zip to my garden with flowers that are orange in color.
Tips for Choosing a Chiminea for Your Backyard or Patio
Imagine that you want to stay warm in your backyard on a cool, starry night. One of the ways you can do so is to invest in a clay or cast iron chiminea.
How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden
The flittering of the butterfly through your garden is no accident if you planned your garden carefully. The adult butterfly flitters from flower to flower - sipping nectar from many flowers in your gardens, while other adult butterflies search for areas to lay their larvae.
Bare Root Roses
Bare Root Roses, what to look for when buyingThe first thing to look for is the plant's grade.Nearly all bare root roses sold today are grown in the field and are approximetly two years old.
Green Thumb Gifts: Beyond Gardening Gloves
Ahh, spring! It has sprung! Gardeners (and budding gardeners - no pun intended) have begun the quest for a weedless lawn, or a bountiful garden. But if you're looking for gifts for someone with a green thumb (or someone with green thumb envy), consider the situation first.
Skip The Pesticide And Use Natural Alternatives
For best health, it is important to keep your environment as chemical free as possible. With better weather coming up, consider this:Many people do not realize that using pesticides and weed killers on lawns can cause health problems for your children and animals, as they often are on the lawn daily in the summer.
Wind Chimes Go Great With Gardening
What could be more relaxing than gardening on a nice summer morning? Listening to your wind chime while you garden! Wind chimes are not only fun to look at but they add much more to your garden then just visual appeal.Wind chimes have tones and vibrations that soothe and calm the mind helping to release all your stress.
Adirondack Furniture - What It is and Why You Want It
Adirondack is the name given to a style of furnishings that date back to the late 1800's. During this time period, immediately following the civil war, upstate New York gained notoriety as a popular tourist destination.
Cast Aluminum Furniture
In days gone by, outdoor furniture was cast from iron. Today, cast aluminum furniture is used more often.
The Flower Garden in August
Our flower garden in August can be brimming with activities we can do at this time of year, as we can for most of the year. We have some flower gardening tips to give you and some experiments to try.
Hummingbird Nesting Facts
Every spring the United States and Canada are blessed with the presence of humming birds migrating north to make a home for their coming young. They come from Mexico and South America in search of a cooler, more suitable climate to nest and have a family.
Ultra Violet Pond Filter
Having an ultra violet pond filter will give you a much better chance at keeping your pond water clear. When used in conjunction with your regular pond filter, it's more than likely that you will have nice clear pond water.
About Hummingbirds and How to Attract Them to Your Garden
Visualize watching a bright green hummingbird in your garden moving from flower to flower in search of the tasty nectar within. These beautiful and tiny birds weigh about 2 to 20 grams and are found in a wide variety of environments from the high Andes to lowlands, and from dry desert areas to rainforests.
Teak Furniture - The Proper Way to Care For & Clean It
Teak furniture is tropical hardwood that has a rich, golden honey color when new. However, as teak begins to age and is exposed to the elements, the natural, beautiful color changes to a silvery gray patina.
Oregano: Joy of the Mountain
Known as "joy of the mountain," Origanum vulgare is commonly called culinary oregano or Turkish oregano. Oregano is a close relative of marjoram and is also known as pot marjoram.
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