Vertical Gardening vs. Traditional Gardening: Which Is the Best?


potted plants on wooden stand

Being a great hobby, gardening is an excellent source of sustenance, cultivates a sense of community, and has many health benefits. However, with the growth of urban areas, space has become more limited, putting traditional gardening in jeopardy. Farmers passionate about gardening have had to be more creative in finding ways to maximize their space.

The best choice of gardening largely depends on the space of your property. Vertical gardening is an excellent choice for homes with limited space. On the other hand, Traditional gardening requires a property with generous space.

This method of gardening encourages growing out rather than growing up of plants. As many people realize the joy of food gardening, your choice of gardening may also be influenced by the amount of time you have, why you want to garden, and the cost of maintenance.

In this piece, we dive further into the differences between vertical farming and traditional farming so that you can make informed decisions.

Vertical Gardening

This style is an art of gardening that facilitates growing upwards rather than outward. Vertical gardening has especially gained popularity among professional farmers and weekend gardeners alike. There are two types of vertical gardening:

  • Growing plants in containers attached to wall surfaces and vertical frames.
  • Training plants to grow vertically

Both styles of vertical growing take plants off the ground and allow foliage to grow out in three dimensions. Vertical gardening has its challenges, with some plants taking more time to learn how to climb a certain way.

Popular Styles of Vertical Gardening

One of the perks of vertical gardening is the creativity it introduces to gardening. There are tons of ideas online for unique ways to grow vertically, and you can also come up with your own. Here are a few:

Trellises

This is one of the most common options for growing plants upwards. It involves utilizing frames that can be easily found in a local garden shop or make at home. To avoid putting too much weight on one side, a great tip is to ensure the trellis balance the plants.

Tripods

Tripods are handy in spaces away from walls and are best utilized in yards where all sides can receive adequate sunlight. A connecting string to each leg can help a tomato or bean plant climb up the tripod.

Upcycled

Upcycling is quickly gaining popularity in vertical gardening. It involves recycling items such as shoe organizers, gutter, and bottles to planters that can hold plants. It is essential to ensure the planters are non-toxic.

Tower gardens

Often in many forms, a tower garden may be a vertical cylinder or a pyramid style. The result is often a tower of plants beautifully arranged to maximize space.

Hanging gardens 

This style uses baskets by hanging them under the awning or by a wall. Hanging gardens are great at attracting insects and bees, especially when they are full of pollinators.

What Plants Are Best for Vertical Gardening?

As you start vertical gardening, it is advisable, to begin with rambling, vining, and sprawling plants with flexible stems. Strawberries. Blackberries and raspberries are excellent for this type of gardening. They help mark a boundary and offer delicious treats. Shallow-rooted vegetables and herbs also thrive in vertical gardening. The best herbs for vertical gardening include parsley, mint, basil, chives, and thyme.

Growing vegetables upwards tend to need extra training compared to herbs and flowers. Some vegetables you should consider include tomatoes, squash, peas, cucumber, and beans.

Pros of Vertical Gardening

Maximize limited space 

This is one of the most practical advantages of vertical gardening. It allows one to maximize limited space. Even the smallest of spaces, such as a balcony, can be maximized using this gardening method.

Adds an aesthetic quality to your space: 

Vertical gardening undoubtedly adds a great visual element to a space. Whether you are simply growing vines up a trellis or creating a green wall, this type of gardening adds a new element to your home.

Save on a lot of work and increases accessibility: 

Vertical gardening makes maintenance very easy. You will have fewer weeds, and you don’t need to crouch or bend to access, water, or harvest your plants. It avoids putting a strain on your pain.

Nurture healthier plants: 

Raising plants on the ground improves the air circulation they experience. Better airflow ensures moisture-loving fungi have a difficult time attacking your plants. Lifting your plants’ leaves and foliage also reduces the chances of getting a soil-borne disease.

Helps reduce the impact of the urban environment 

Vertical gardening makes it possible to have gardens where it was previously thought impossible. They can help soften stark or hard-looking buildings and landscapes. Additionally, vertical gardening introduces plants into space, thereby helping get rid of pollutants and improving indoor and outdoor air quality.

Cons of Vertical Gardening

Negatively affects structures

Vertical gardens may often drip against a wall causing damage. There is also the risk of these gardens staining or discoloring the floor beneath them. They are best suited to building materials that are impervious to moisture.

They are sun blockers 

Often, vertical gardens are on tall structures that may block sunlight for lower plants. It is important to consider the needs of the plants that may be receiving fewer nutrients due to the positioning of other plants.

Lack of support 

Vertical gardens do not provide enough support for larger plants such as melons and wisteria vines. They are best suited for lighter plants such as sweet peas. Heavier plants need a substantial support structure.

Frequent watering 

This technique hardly depends on nature and requires constant watering and motoring to ensure the plants do not dry up.

Traditional Gardening

vegetable garden

Traditional farming is the predominant farming and food production method method method method and is still utilized by 50% of the world’s population. It involves the intensive utilization of land, indigenous knowledge, traditional tools, and natural resources. Even though it is an old method of farming, over time, it has evolved to adopt technology and modern equipment. This style of gardening is mainly adopted in rural areas requires due to the availability of large properties. The space available often influences the amount of food produced. To acquire more land for farming, traditional farming has often been the main reason for clearing forests.

Popular Traditional Farming Methods

Agroforestry

This method is one of the oldest traditional farming techniques that has been used for centuries. It involves planting and maintaining trees that help develop a microclimate to protect the crops. It uniquely helps control exposure to sunlight, temperature, rain, and wind around crops.

Crop rotation

This farming technique was founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva, who is a renowned environmentalist. The practice involves growing different crops on the same property based on seasons. It helps preserve soil, minimize the use of chemicals, reduce pests and reduce reliance on one set of nutrients.

Intercropping

Intercropping is a farming technique that adopts sowing more than two crops simultaneously on the same property. The soil is not well utilized by a single crop; therefore, intercropping allows for better resource utilization and yields. Intercropping has various methods, including temporal intercropping, row cropping, and mixed intercropping.

Polyculture

This farming system adopts the planting of many plants from different species on the same property. Not only does it promote biodiversity in food production, but it also improves the ability to control pests, weeds, and diseases. It is a more sustainable form of farming. Soe of the various types of polyculture includes integrated aquaculture, permaculture, and cover cropping.

Water harvesting

This involves collecting and storing water which can then be used for agricultural purposes. Water can be collected from surfaces such as the roof or rivers during the monsoon season. New methods of water harvesting are being developed to increase sustainable food production.

Pros of Traditional Farming

Less cost

Traditional farming is a cheaper method of farming. Farmers depend on natural resources to produce food in large quantities and sell their produce at significantly lower or higher prices.

Increased food production 

Since production costs are lower and the property size is more significant, farmers can better produce more crops to meet the growing demand for food supply.

Creates more jobs

Traditional gardening is more task-oriented, necessitating hired help such as laborers, producers of fertilizers, and trucks during harvest.

Not restrictive

Unlike urban gardening methods, traditional gardening allows all types of plants to grow, supporting both light and heavier plants.

It does not require much preparation 

Once the property has been identified and tilled, it is ready for planting.

Cons of Traditional Farming

Poor drainage and compaction

Traditional farming tends to be highly impacted by soil compaction. This is when soil particles are closely pressed together, making drainage and water filtration difficult.

Expensive cultivating equipment 

Using traditional gardening, breaking ground on a new garden requires expensive cultivating equipment such as a tractor or rototiller.

Size of property

Traditional gardening requires a substantial size of the property. With the rising population and growth of urban areas, it is becoming harder to acquire larger properties that you can cultivate. This makes farming harder for small farmers.

Require a lot of maintenance 

Traditional gardens are often large and require more labor and time to keep them weed-free and well maintained.

Utilizes a lot of water

Watering your garden may be easy, but getting water to such spots can be challenging with in-ground gardens, and they also tend to require more water.

Conclusion on vertical gardening vs. traditional gardening

In current times, food insecurity has significantly increased. The recent pandemic has brought to our attention that we can not fully rely on global food supply chains analyzed food production. Traditional farming methods remain the world’s main source of food.

However, urban farming programs and initiatives such as vertical farming are a great way to help solve complex and long supply chains and food accessibility issues.

In a nutshell, there is no one-fits-all option for all gardeners. Your choice of gardening is dependent on many varying factors. The above-mentioned types of gardening, their styles, advantages, and disadvantages are great to start when making the ultimate decision. Whether you adopt one, both, or even more gardening styles, it is undoubtedly an enjoyable endeavor with myriads of health and mental benefits.

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Tony O'Neill

I am Tony O'Neill, A full-time firefighter, and professional gardener. I have spent most of my life gardening. From the age of 7 until the present day at 46. My goal is to use my love and knowledge of gardening to support you and to simplify the gardening process so you are more productive

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