“What can I grow in a vertical pallet garden?”
Well, a lot.
With a robust vertical staking and deep container, most vegetables can be grown vertically. It just depends on the moisture, heat, wind, and sunlight in your area to pick out which are the best to thrive.
My guide today will help you with that!
Table of Contents
Ensure your pallet is strong enough
…to ensure it can hold your plants sturdily.
Choosing the right pallet for your garden is considered the most challenging because many businesses don’t sell or offer their pallets, which makes it not easy to find (from a recycled to a brand new one).
If possible, I highly recommend buying a new, clean, fresh pallet to ensure there’re no chemicals contained in it.
But if you prefer to go for a recycled, choose the one that has HT stamped somewhere on the pallet. That signal means the wood has been kiln-dried or heat treated as opposed to treated chemically.
Besides, let spends some time and effort to replace old, rusty staples or nails.
Scrub the wood down to make sure you’ve washed off any sorts of bacteria or chemicals available inside the recycled pallet. For better results, use soapy water and some bleach then dry it out.
With a pallet at home and cleaned, you can begin.
Grow vegetable vertically
If you intend to grow beans, squash, or cucumbers, choose the “vine” varieties instead of the bush ones so that they will climb vertically. Here are some common options:
Herbs are an excellent option for a limited garden as they are used typically in very small quantities.
But that doesn’t mean people with more real estate in a garden can’t try these. You can add multiple sizes of vertical pallets and pick the small one for herbs.
Now, how “small” it should be?
As your herb garden can be limited to a single stand, growing them in a vertical arrangement of 2 or 4 levels. If possible, place this pallet near your kitchen so that it will be within your reach when needed.
Some good tries are:
- Cilantro: This sort of herb needs moist soil to grow well and some varieties might require medium-sized pots.
- Parley: The best growing season is spring. Parley can be used as an annual herb and it is very easy to grow – just sow some seeds in moist, highly-nutrient soil. Ah, they need medium-sized pots to grow well.
- Mint: Mint normally isn’t used much in daily cooking; you just need a few leaves at a time so it’s not necessary to grow a bunch. The best plan is growing a wide gamut of mints in several small pots.
- Sage: Like parsley, sage is ideal to be planted in spring. This is a perennial herb that can give you food on the table all year round. It’s also easy to take care – just rarely prune it to encourage new growth.
- Oregano: Some small-sized pots are enough for a daily meal but if you’re going to dry them, plant more. Mediterranean or Mexican oregano are two best choices. Keep them in light soil and place them on the drier side.
- Basil: This herb has a lot of varieties, most of which prefer medium pots and highly nutrient soil
- Chives: Unless you’re a chive lover, just plant a few small pots of them in your garden because chives grow super-fast. They like well-draining soil.
Baby greens and microgreens
As baby greens and microgreens ask for regular sowing and harvesting, you’ll find a vertical pallet is beneficially superior to other types of garden. You don’t have to bend or knee too much just to sniff them off with scissors.
Some easy-to-grow options are:
- Daikon radish
- Red amaranth
Three biggest bonuses when growing greens vertically are:
- Their leaves don’t touch the grow then decay
- More air circulation
So they will suffer fewer pest attacks and fewer diseases. Harvesting will be effortless and joyful as you just need scissors to pick mature leaves for the cooking instead of pulling up the entire plant.
That also means you can harvest more than once on them.
- Red amaranth: The best growing season is in mid-spring and red amaranth love warm, highly-nutrient soil.
- Swiss chard: While giving you food, Swiss chard also beautifies your garden. They thrive in big-sized pots. Start with sowing a liberal amount of seeds and then thin out the seedlings until there’s just one/pot
- Spinach: It’s ideal to plant in early spring and continue until the weather gets too warm. Sow a good quantity of seeds and when they grow bigger, thin out the seedlings.
- Lettuce: The biggest advantage of growing lettuce in a vertical pallet is they can be planted closer together than directly in the ground. Loose-leaf lettuce varieties are the best to go. You should sow seeds every 2 weeks to make sure a steady supply
Bulb & root vegetables
Highlighting medium light requirement and compact top growth, bulb and root veggies give a good match to vertical gardening.
You can grow them in long rows, grow bags, or individual pots, just ensure to provide enough amount of growing medium for them.
- Leeks: Some small pots with 6” deep is great for radish as they grow rapidly
- Onions: You can grow them from sets or seeds. Whichever the method, they prefer mid-sized pots with 12” deep for rooting.
- Shallots: Plant them in fall for a late summer crop and in early spring for more. Shallots thrive in wide mid-sized pots.
- Garlic: It needs enough moisture and perfectly light soil to grow well. Grow them in fall to take advantage of the cool temperatures.
- Turnip: Start with sowing a bunch of seeds in 12” deep mid-sized pots and thin them to 1 or 3 each pot.
- Beets: Beets are very easy to grow and take care of. You just need to avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Besides, choose mid-sized pots with at least 8” deep for them.
- Carrots: Take note that the pots must be at least 12 inches deep with loose, well-draining soil to avoid your carrots deforming when they grow
- Radish: As it grows super-fast, you should only grow a few batches of them in mid-sized pots or small containers (6” deep is ideal).
Nightshade family veggies
Some nightshades will develop high amounts of the poisonous substance solanine if they grow closer to the soil. That’s why vertical gardening is the best way to avoid that:
- Potatoes: Grow them in mid-sized pots and cover the top with a thick layer of mulch
- Peppers: Most varieties of peppers, like fiery jalapeno peppers and sweet bell peppers, need full light and rich soil
- Tomatillos: This is a drought-tolerant plant and ideal to grow in big-sized pots. As it is sprawling, adding a wire cage to stem is quite useful.
- Tomatoes: As some varieties grow with some staking while others need trellises, you can plant them in a hanging basket, at a high level, or upwards. But in general, they will need full sun and warm, rich soil to thrive.
Brassica family vegetables
This sort of vegetable is not strong enough to resist pests on their own.
When you grow them in the traditional way, the pupae of the caterpillars are easier to hide in the soil and the eggs are under the leaves. That means your garden is prone to get tremendous damage.
But with the vertical gardening, infestations will be noticed more quickly while you can cover the pallets with nets for extra protection from egg-laying. It also means you don’t have to use chemicals to get rid of them.
Some noteworthy sorts of brassica family vegetables to grow vertically are:
- Kale: There are two varieties of kale – the curly-leaved and the plain-leaved. While the curly-leaved is better to be planted in individual pots, you can grow several plain-leaved kales in one pot. And remember, don’t grow them in hot weather as the leaves will be bitter. The ideal growing season is in either spring or autumn.
- Cauliflower: Like other members of brassica family vegetables, it’d better plant cauliflower from transplants. To save them from potential diseases, cover them well with straw or shredded leaves when the flower heads are 2” or 3” above the ground.
- Broccoli: Spring is the best season for growing broccoli. They need warm weather, rich soil and mid-sized pots. You should keep the soil moderately moist and plant them from transplants for low maintenance.
- Cabbage: Use mid-sized pots and moist, rich soil for cabbage. Plant one in each pot for the best growth.
Regarding fertilizer, choose the nitrogen-rich products and once the head begins to form, top-dress them with well-rotted manure.
The only thing you should keep in mind is to prepare strong trellises that can support the vines’ weight. Think about their heavy fruits as well.
Though the upfront preparation might take time and effort, it’s good for trailing vines to grow vertically as they can resist rotting better. Besides, you can track their growth and harvest their fruits more easily.
- Sweet potato: This sort of vegetable grows and sprawl super-fast so I recommend planting them directly in the ground then allow them to climb on the trellises or pallets.
- Butternut squash: similarly, you should plant this in the ground and direct it to your vertical pallets. Starting from a large-sized pot is also a good idea to stay away from weeds.
- Pumpkins: You should prepare at least a 20-gallon pot and grow bags if that’s the small-sized pumpkins. When they start fruiting, take note to add extra support to your vertical pallets.
- Watermelon: Luckily enough that watermelon comes in different varieties so you can choose the most suitable one for your trellises or vertical pallets. You should add a nylon net system or small hammock to support their heavy fruits.
These sun lovers are nature’s own attempt at vertical gardening to thrive happily whether in a large-sized pot or directly in the ground. Here are some yummy ones to try:
- Malabar spinach: This is a quick-growing climbing vine that will give you a summer crop if planted from seeds in spring.
- Cucumbers: This climbing green loves living in well-draining, highly-nutrient soil in a big-sized pot. The ideal temperature is 70 degrees F and you can harvest them many times throughout the season.
- Asparagus beans: To prevent this vigorous-growing plant from smothering others, use a prop trellis at the sides to train its vines away from the shelves in your vertical garden. Not to say that this method helps you harvest the beans easily.
- Peas: If you intend to grow various varieties of peas, make separate vertical pallets for them to climb on so that the harvesting will be easier.
- Pole beans: When the temperature is 60 degrees and up, start planting pole beans from seeds in a large bag or the ground near your pallet stand. They prefer full sun and rich soil to grow happily.
Some final notes are, avoid pulling vegetables or fruits off of the vertical pallets when harvesting as using too much force will uproot the vine or separate it from the vertical structure. Instead, use pruning shears or gardening knife to remove them.
Now, that’s all for this article. Thanks for reading and good luck with your vertical garden!