Book Review: Vertical Vegetables

Vertical Vegetables: Simple Projects that Deliver More Yield in Less Space (Cool Springs Press, 2018) by Twin Cities-based garden blogger Amy Andrychowicz describes a variety of easy projects for gardeners who have limited space but want to grow lots of vegetables and flowers.

Vertical vegetables coverAndrychowicz is the proprietor of GetBusyGardening.com, a very successful website for beginning gardeners on a budget. Her garden in suburban Minneapolis was profiled in the March/April 2014 issue of Northern Gardener.

In Vertical Vegetables, Andrychowicz walks gardeners through the basics of why to grow up rather than out and which plants do best in elevated planters and on trellises and other growing apparatuses. She discusses the best materials for different types of structures and how to maintain plants, such as beans, indeterminate tomatoes, heavy squashes and peas.

The heart of the book, however, are the projects, which are described in detail, with material and tool listings, step-by-step instructions and illustrative photographs by Northern Gardener contributor Tracy Walsh as well as drawings for some of the more complicated projects. Some are really simple, such as a teepee-shaped trellis made out of heavy-duty garden stakes and garden training wire. Others are more complicated, such as a freestanding arbor. But none are impossible for someone who knows how to use a power drill, an electric saw and a hammer.

There is plenty of inspiration here, too. I’ve admired Amy’s large arch tunnel since I first saw it when touring here garden several years ago. It turns out it would not be that hard to build using cattle panels and landscape stakes or fence posts. I’m adding that one to the summer to-do list, if the snow ever melts from my vegetable garden!

She also devotes significant space to hanging gardens and towers that allow you to grow plants at easier heights, such as a strawberry tower or a self-standing gutter garden.

If you have a small garden or just want to grow things vertically or have an itch to build a new trellis or planter for your garden while we wait for things to thaw out, this book has what you need to get inspired and get started.

vertical vegetables arch

Amy’s vegetable garden, circa 2013. She’s growing melons on the arches across her beds.

 

 

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