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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.
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.
Black Walnut Trees Produce A Natural Insecticide
The black walnut tree manufactures a substance that is a natural insecticide according to experts at the Texas State University in Austin.
Letting Nature Grow Your Garden
It is wisest to let Nature have Her way. Nature has her own agenda, and your life as a gardener will be easier if you bow to Her desires. Better to dance with the fairies than struggle with eliminating "weeds". What herbs already grow around you that you can use as teas and seasonings? Most areas are rich in such plants, both native and introduced. Many of them will be happy to grace your garden with very little effort on your part. Some will appear; others may want to be transplanted. Still others are simply there, waiting for you to notice.
The Care of Cattleya Orchids
Cattleya Care: a bit more in-depth.
Flower Meanings & History of Flowers
The charming and delicate beauty of flowers has fascinated people of all nations and backgrounds for centuries. Flowers have been bred and cultivated for their decorative beauty as well as their ability to heal diseases. Flowers are the subject of poems and myths, and religious symbols are associated with flowers as well. Many girls are named after flowers. The main reason for the popularity of flowers though is their ability to bring good cheer.
Butterfly gardening is not only a joy, it is one way that you can help restore declining butterfly populations. Simply adding a few new plants to your backyard may attract dozens of different butterflies, according to landscape designers at the University of Guelph.
Ten Considerations Before You Buy A Bird House
When you decide to buy one bird house or more -- be aware that there are many designs being sold that are unsuitable for the birds. These houses may not attract any birds or the types of birds you wish, or they may actually be harmful. Many are very cute and look like little decorated houses. There is nothing wrong with these, but they are usually more appropriate as indoor decoration than as good safe homes for wild birds. Below is a checklist of the ten most important features of a good working bird house. Before you put a house out for wild birds, be sure it has these ten features. If it is decorative and still has these features, then it is fine to put it out.
How to Grow Basil
Today there are sprays, scented candles, plug-ins, and even discs that promise to freshen your air by putting a variety of aromas into your home. However, when you know how to grow basil, you can have enough variety of fragrance to package your own potpourri! The most commonly grown basil is the annual, ocimum basilicum that carries a minty fragrance that smells like? well, it smells like sweet basil. In addition to having a wonderful fragrance, sweet basil is an essential ingredient in soups, stews, pesto sauce, and just about any tomato dish. Knowing how to grow basil is a must for every herb gardener. You can grow herbs both indoors and outdoors
With Outdoor Lighting You Can Enjoy Your Garden Into The Evening Hours
It is a beautiful evening and you are relaxing on your patio, enjoying the cool summer air. The flowers are blooming, the lawn is green and lush, everything is perfect, if only you could see! We spend so much time and money on our backyards, decks and patios, and then the sun goes down and we must abandon these beautiful oases. However, it does not have to be that way if you have outdoor lighting.
8 Simple Tips to Keep Your Lawn Mower Running
1. If you have a non-electric mower which runs on petrol or gas have a look in the instruction manual to find out how to check and change the oil. Check the oil level often, add more oil when necessary and change it when it's dirty.
How To Choose Water Garden Plants
So. The water garden bug has bitten. You've dug and leveled and sweated and said words you hope that no one else has heard. Now it's time for the fun part ? picking out your water garden plants!
Low Maintenance Teak Furniture
In all likelihood you have heard of teak furniture and have wanted to know why it's such a big deal. This article contains some simple info regarding the building material that seems a little mysterious, even has a weird sound to it, but dominates the market of outdoor furniture.
Mint: The Herb of Hospitality
The Mentha species or mints as they are commonly called include many varieties that flavour everything from appetizers to desserts. The best-known species in North American are peppermint (M. x piperita) and spearmint (M. spicata), which are highly valued for commercial use. Mint symbolises "hospitality" and can be grown in pots and containers indoors and out. In the garden, mint should be grown with a barrier around the roots, as it can be extremely invasive. Most mints do not come true from seed so it is best to purchase plants from a nursery or garden centre. Fresh mints are a source of Vitamin C and pro-vitamin A.
Grow Organic Vegetables
There are more reasons than ever why anybody with access to a few square feet of the outdoors should grow their own organic vegetables.
How to Grow Snow Peas
Snow peas may have been named because in bright sunlight their light green pods look as if they might be tinged with frost. One of the oldest vegetables, the earliest recorded pea was grown in 9750 BC on the Thai-Burma border. Since snow peas are a favorite addition to Asian dishes, this pea might very well have been a snow pea ancestor.
Commercial and Residential Flagpoles
The world's tallest unsupported flagpole is located in Amman, Jordan. Erected in 2003, the carbon steel pole juts 416 feet into the sky and weighs a staggering 190,000 pounds. A flagpole of that magnitude requires an extremely heavy foundation ? upwards of 600 tons ? and is therefore bolted to the foundation by 36 carbon steel bolts. It is built to withstand winds up ninety miles per hour with the flag attached, as well as earthquakes. Design and construction took two whole years ? and a number of major corporations cooperating ? to get it erected.
The Design Principle of Unity in Gardening and Landscaping
A principle of all art is unity. This means that each piece of art has one meaning. Creating landscaping or a flower garden should also incorporate this principle of unity. Your landscaping or flower garden is truly a work of art as much as any painting or sculpture.
Cannibals on the Porch
No, ghosts of the Donner Party have not started haunting my porch, nor have others of the human type I may have reference to. I am speaking of cannibals in the insect world of which there are many, but two in particuIar that make me stop and wonder. The first is waxy black with a small red hourglass on her abdomen. She dangles on a thin thread late on warm summer nights in doorways or dark corners waiting for the what ever comes her way. I am sure you guessed, it is the female black widow spider, (Latrodectus Mactans) that I am referring to, and she is no stranger to many porches and gardens around the world . Her potent neurotoxic venom is more deadly than a rattle snake, although the actual bite is less noticeable. But she is only one of the many cannibals waiting outside.
Plastic & Resin Patio Furniture ? What You Don?t Know
What is the first thought that comes through your mind when you hear "resin patio furniture" or "plastic patio furniture"? Is the word cheap or flimsy? You are not alone. But what you may not know is it is the latest trend and spreading fast.
Roses and Juniper Rock Gardens
Wide circle driveways don't happen much anymore, but when they do, what do you do with them? Clear out the grass, mound up some soil, and park a few boulders in strategic positions and you've got the perfect spot for an artistic rose garden. Plant some dark green Juniper and a few golden-tipped junipers for background color before adding your roses.
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