Rodale Press was kind enough to send me a copy of Derek Fell’s Vertical Gardening book a few weeks ago. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing more vertical gardening here on the farm, so I was excited to get started reading this one. Derek Fell grew his first vertical garden in England when he was just 6 years old during the 2nd World War. Food was scarce and his family lived in town. His first garden was a little strip of dirt between a wall and an ally, he planted peas and grew them on a homemade trellis. Fell would grow up to be well respected man in the garden world and eventually settled down in Pennsylvania on Cedaridge Farm where he has been experimenting with vertical gardening for many years. Vertical gardening is an information packed book with 200 photos. The book covers every aspect of vertical growing including many ideas for building trellises and how to incorporate them into raised beds, no-dig heavy mulch systems, and traditional tilled garden plots as well as growing up walls on houses and outbuildings. Fell covers the best variates of vegetables for vertical gardening as well as the best non-climbing plants to plant at the base of the climbers, producing more food per square foot. Some of his raised beds are only 2ft wide with the main crop growing 6ft up making them extremely efficient. This book doesn’t only cover vegetable gardening. There are many pages that cover vertical gardening for ornamental flowers as well as very informative section on fruit and fruit trees. The book also covers container gardening, the use of arbors and arches, controling weeds and pests, composting and pruning. In was impressed with this book, enough so that we are planning to implement much of the information this year in our garden. Whether you are an urban gardener or a rural homesteader, there is plenty of useful information in this book and it is definitely worth the money.
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