On the Up – Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg on a Fence Panel

Everyone likes the idea of a bit of GIY (grow it yourself) but some are put off by lack of space. And a shortage of time. After all, allotment waiting lists can be long and a dedicated two days a week to keeping a plot ship-shape unfeasible. Never fear - if you have a fence panel you can be a top GIY-er. Honest.

A sturdy fence panel is the perfect support for runner beans. Planted in the ground or into large pots, plants will scramble and twirl in and out of slats and sections of a fence panel. Same thing goes for climbing French beans. Oh, and cucumbers, pumpkins and indeed anything that either climbs or usually flops on the floor.

plants growing in bottles on a fence - an example of vertical gardening

A fence panel is also ideal for training fruit. Not ‘stay’, ‘sit’, lie down’, ‘roll over’ and ‘give me your paw’ type of training but more fan, cordon and espalier. Obviously, the panel has to be sound with no signs of rot as, once a fruit tree is mature, it is heavy especially when laden with sun-ripened fruit. It’s an intriguing job tying and persuading branches into shapes. Another example of gardening and art coming together. Growing fruit against fence panels also brings an additional benefit. In a cold frosty spring, flowers can be damaged and that = poor crops. But trees growing against a fence can easily be covered with a duvet of horticultural fleece as the temperature plunges = no flower damage = fruit-tastic autumns!

But we all know that trees need a good root-run to perform. Even runner beans need plenty of soil (and moisture) to succeed and containers can be heavy to lift around and maintain. You are not off the hook though. Or actually, your plants are on the hook. Think of your fence panel as a wall - and that means hanging baskets, troughs or individual containers crammed with compost. And that can only mean one thing - more GIY space for you.

plants growing in pots on a fence - an example of vertical gardening

Strawberries are actually better when grown off the ground if you want to feed yourself as opposed to your voracious slug population. Most marauding molluscs haven't the energy or inclination to climb a fence to get at developing fruit. They go for easier targets. The low-hanging fruit! Judicious use of strong wire and a large container is all you need to grow your own punnet of strawberries. Oh, and holes in the container for drainage, a good quality peat-free and green-waste-free compost and of course a strawberry plant. But you get the idea. Get crafty and creative and you can produce great crops from a shabby chic space. And all for next to nothing in cost.

Same thing goes for crops of finger carrots, radishes and lettuce. Individual pockets or containers can all be planted with different herbs for an olfactory experience to beat all others. Gorgeous herby perfume right at head height. Perfect. You’ve just gotta make time for thyme.

And whilst you have some 'thyme', if you're looking to replace your fence panels and ensure their suitability for your own vertical garden, please take a moment to browse through Buy Fencing Direct's superb range