Whether you live in an apartment with only a small balcony for gardening or enjoy ample space in your backyard, growing vegetables vertically along fences, trellises or walls gives you a greater yield for the area of your garden and healthier vegetables. Bringing your vegetables off the ground not only gives you more room, it allows ample air to circulate and prevents some pests, molds, fungi and diseases from attacking your plants.
Many bean varieties, such as pole beans, require a surface to climb as they grow. The vines of pole beans sprout small tendrils to grasp at the vertical surface. Beans and other tendril-type vines grow best with a trellis or tepee of thin poles. Set up your vertical surface of choice before planting your beans, and make sure to water regularly. All bean varieties are intolerant of drought, and vertical planting can cause your plants to dry out quickly.
Grow your tomatoes vertically using either wire cages or staking, depending on your garden space. The caging method works well for tomatoes sown directly in the soil. Take a 5-by-6-foot piece of concrete support wire and shape it into a circular cage. Push this cage into the ground so it surrounds your young tomato plant, inserting it deep enough so it does not blow over in strong wind. Because the tomato is supported from all sides, no tying or training is necessary. Alternately, place a stake a little over a foot longer than the height of your tomato variety into the soil just after transplanting. Push the stake at least 12 inches into the soil. As your tomatoes grow, loosely tie the main stalk to the stake with a bit of twine every 12 inches.
All cucumber varieties grow on vines, so any kind works well in a vertical garden. For a container garden, choose a dwarf variety, often used for pickling. Larger varieties of cucumbers develop straighter, more uniform fruits than do vines growing along the ground. Plant your cucumbers along a trellis or fence, and train the vines by gently weaving them into the surface as they grow. For full-sized cucumber plants, tie a stretchy piece of fabric beneath the fruit and firmly to the trellis or fence. The elasticity allows the fruit to grow while having ample support.
While squash may not immediately come to mind as a viable option for a small garden space, you can sow vine varieties in containers and grow them along a firmly rooted trellis. Due to the weight of the fruit, place the bottom of your trellis in a bucket of concrete. Train the squash vines through the trellis as they grow, and support each vegetable with a stretchy sling tied firmly to the trellis.