Vertical Gardening versus Traditional Gardening
This is just my experience and I hope I can answer some of your questions. :)
When I started my first vegetable garden, I grew vegetables in my flowerbeds and I called it my teaching garden.
We had at least 1 of everything we ate, including fruits.
After the kids left to go on their own journey, we sold our old house and bought a new house with a bigger yard and I finally have enough room for a vegetable garden.
What style of garden do I want?
Traditional Gardening with Vertical Gardening?
Growing in rows in the ground with some Vertical Trellises.
Raised Beds with Vertical Gardening?
Raised beds with Vertical Trellises has gained popularity, especially in urban areas with limited space.
I chose raised beds!
The smallest bed I have is 4 feet wide, some are five feet and some are whatever space I had left.
I love my raised beds. They are easy to weed, fertilize and water.
However, growing corn and potatoes in a raised bed, it just doesn't feel right yet.
Then I decided I wanted more growing space and hence the " Vertical gardening" came about.
So what do I think of Vertical Gardening in a raised bed?
I wish I had thought about it before building the raised beds.
Four foot wide raised beds are not wide enough to add a trellis length wise. You need room to harvest in front of the trellis as well as the back.
The "Pros" for Vertically gardening:
If you are short on gardening space, you can successfully grow a beautiful vertical garden.
If you have narrow beds and you can harvest on both sides without compacting your soil - it's awesome - no bending.
They also look neat and tidy and easier to spot pests and improve air circulation.
The "Cons" of Vertical gardening
They take more maintenance. You have to tie and train everything to the trellis and needs more water to keep the soil moist.
It's also expensive. Metal T-bars and metal mesh or fencing is expensive and a lot of work to install.
Once those T-bars are in - they are not easy to pull out and relocate. We have a t-bar puller that we bought at farm equipment store. I don't like doing this unless I have to.
They also create shade for the plants growing in front of the Verticals and if you are using overhead sprinklers the Verticals get in the way.
You can't very easily rotate your crops either.
Mother Nature had it right all along.
No more corralled corn and potatoes.
One time, I was stressing about not having my tomatoes tied to the trellises yet and my farmer friend says "how many farmers stake or trellis their tomatoes?"
One year I just waited until my tomatoes were about 1 foot high, I staked them and just left them. With time they fell over and did their thing.
I kept on getting more and more tomatoes and thought that was good. In the fall I noticed that the tomatoes that fell over; rooted itself and it was the new plants that kept producing.
My cucumbers do better when they are grown horizontally as well.
Growing horizontally uses less water, because the plants keep the soil covered.
Cost less than other garden types, but more weeds.
So what am I going to do?
I am going to pull out my "Vertical Gardening" and use it to fence my vegetable garden. I also like to look at my vegetables beds without having fencing obscuring my view.
I might keep some trellises for beans and peas, because I don't have bush beans nor bush peas.
When my raised beds need replacing, I will still have some raised beds in my vegetable garden and some areas without, so I can grow corn, potatoes and squashes without being restricted to a raised bed.
That's my story and I wouldn't have known what I wanted until I tried it. :)