Sunday, July 26, 2009

Growing Up

I'm pretty greedy when it comes to garden space.  I want to grow as much as I can in a pretty small garden.  One way to expand that space is to garden in three dimensions: don't forget the vertical space!  Space-hungry plants like squashes and cucumbers can be trained to grow up a trellis, which keeps the squash clean and dry off the ground, and also keeps the plants from sprawling all over.  Unless you're growing huge pumpkins, the stem grows to support the squash, so there's really no need to worry about them falling off.  I grew butternut squash this way, and they really did stay on the plant, even the largest ones.  Just be sure your trellis is sturdy enough to hold them!

My trellis is a permanent structure made out of steel tubing sunk into the ground, with heavy-duty plastic fencing material on it.  This works well, but isn't the most attractive option.  The other down side of the permanent trellis is that I pretty much have to grow the squash there every year. I like to at least try to rotate crops and I try to make up for the every-year squash dilemma by planting peas on the trellis first every spring to give me a little rotation.  But a moveable trellis would better in hindsight.  These vegetable ladders that I found from the Territorial Seed Company would be one moveable option. They're a bit pricey for what they are, but I'll bet they'd be really easy to make for yourself.  (Or find an old wooden step ladder and put it to a new use!)  So, when you're looking for more space in your garden, don't forget to look up!

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