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June 11, 2013

Vertical Gardening...

Squeeze more vegetables into small spaces with trellises.

When you grow your vining vegetables upward, you use less ground space. This increases your yield per square foot because you can fit more plants into the garden. But saving space is just one reason to grow your plants on trellises. Here are some other advantages to growing up:
  • Monitoring and controlling pests is easier because they're right in front of your face.
  • Harvesting is also easier, as there's no stooping or hunching over.
  • No more waste due to overripe fruits that are hidden under lush growth.
  • Vertical gardens increase accessibility for gardeners with disabilities because they can tend and pick from a chair or garden seat.
So the benefits of trellising are clear. Before you set up a trellis, though, keep in mind these two important points:
  • Situate trellises along the north side of your garden to prevent shading other plants.
  • Anchor your trellises to protect them from the wind and to handle the weight of the plants by sinking trellis posts 24 inches deep.

What can you grow vertically?
Trellis nonbush or indeterminate types, which keep growing and producing fruits until frost. (Determinate varieties are often bushy.) Check out this plan for a sturdy tomato tower.
Grow nonbush varieties on trellises. Bush types don't need trellising; their vines reach only 4 to 6 feet long.
Pole beans, Gourds, Melons.
As a general rule, any variety with fruits smaller than a volleyball can be trellised. Vines will grow strong enough to hold the weight of the fruit, so there's no need to support fruits with individual hammocks.
Squash and pumpkins.
Small-fruited and nonbush types, such as miniature pumpkins, and acorn and buttercup squash, are suitable for trellising. Here are plans for a simple squash trellis.
For more vertical gardening ideas, check out Derek Fell's book, Vertical Gardening.

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