Author: Jonathon Engels
Vertical gardening is a concept that is well promoted these days, especially when considering urban and suburban gardens in confined spaces. A quick search on any server will reveal a great collection of reused plastic bottles or PVC pipes suspended alongside walls and fences, little bunches of salad greens poking up periodically. Everything from old pants pockets to upcycled dressers to old pallets are used to grow food beyond just ground level. Often times these create beautiful, if not peculiar, garden touches for people, gardeners and the rest alike, to enjoy.
However, small containers like these, while a productive use of space, can often be higher maintenance and are typically used to propagate annuals, but of course, standard permaculture practice is to pursue, though not exclusively, perennial and low-maintenance gardens. It’s from this point of view that the practicality of edible perennial vines become a more obvious choice for utilizing vertical spaces. Climbing vines not only have the potential (and need) to move vertically, but also they can spread along ceilings (to utilize that space as well), become shading roofs themselves, help with insulating, and even function as living walls and fences.
In other words, while the upcycled vertical gardens are a neat trick and fun projects, looking to vines may offer more stacked functions and provide a more reliable, more easily maintained source of food. What’s more is that there are great, varied productive options for temperate and tropical zones, including vines for fruit and vegetables, as well as edible leaves and flowers. Most propagate easily and establish themselves quickly.