As humans have increasingly moved into cities and other densely populated urban areas, gardening has become less and less common. For many people, it isn't that they don't want to grow plants and vegetables—it's simply that there isn't enough space.
If you've missed out on the growing trend for vertical gardening, you're probably not alone. But the increasing numbers of people planting in an upwards direction are changing the possibilities in limited outdoor spaces. If you've never considered installing a vertical garden, all you need is a little bit of floor space and a disused wall. Here are some of the things you can grow to make delicious salads from your own produce.
What's a salad without lettuce? These hardy, leafy vegetables are easy to grow in vertical garden set-ups, and you normally see results quite fast.
Pick a variety you like the look of or, depending on space, plant several different types so you can have a nice mixture in your salads. If you want your growing and harvesting efforts to be as simple as possible, look for so-called "cut-and-come-again" varieties of lettuce. These will keep growing as you trim leaves off for use, so you won't need to replant frequently.
As vine plants, tomatoes are great for growing in vertical gardens, and there are two different ways you can plant them.
If you have space on the ground and your vertical configuration allows for it, your tomato plants can grow upwards against the wall, where they'll grow tall and thin.
A clever way to make good use of more limited space is to grow your tomatoes downward instead of upward. They'll happily trail down and grow fruit just as well.
Herbs are more often associated with cooking than salads, but parsley can make a lovely addition to cold dishes. It's a hardy plant that's easy to grow and needs little space to do so. Just trim leaves off as you need them.
Like tomatoes, cucumber plants can be grown either up or down. If you want to grow them upwards, you'll need to support the vines with canes or a trellis, as they're not as strong as tomato plants.
Mustard and cress are the best-known microgreens, but there are many different plants you can grow for use when small and young. Almost anything edible can be harvested early for its nutritious leaves; try beetroot, pea plants, radish, carrot and kale. They'll be ready to eat in super-quick time, making them a satisfying crop.
I've always been interested in gardening, and when I bought my first home ten years ago, I knew I wanted the garden space to be used to grow food, but I also wanted it to look beautiful. I started researching edible flowers and read about using companion plants interlaced with vegetable plants to create stunning displays of colour throughout the growing season. I realised I could design a garden that was both functional and pleasing to the eye and now only grow edible plants and flowers, such as pansies, borage, violas, lemon verbena, roses and nasturtiums. I started this blog to connect with others who enjoy growing their own food and to share my tips for creating an entirely edible garden. I hope you find my blog interesting and enjoyable to read.