How to Grow Vegetables Vertically

Growing Vegetables
Growing Vegetables Vertically

If you want to plant melons, cucumbers or squash in your vegetable garden, think about doing it vertically. It is a great way to grow these vegetables and it gives you plenty of space. Plus, it makes for a very interesting and striking look for your garden.

The first thing you need to pay attention to is the vegetables' variety. Don't go for the "bush varieties" because those can't climb properly so you won't be able to grow them vertically. Opt for the "vining variety" instead. These are the ones that can properly climb your trellis, stake or netting.

Good Varieties

Here is a suggestion of some good varieties for all these vegetables (squash, melons, cucumbers). These vining varieties are perfect for growing vertically and they will climb without a problem.

  • Winter Squash varieties: Hubbard, Acorn, Butternut.
  • Summer Squash varieties: Straight, Crook Neck, Patty Pan. Note: don't choose Zucchini variety! It may seem like a climber but it's very heavy so it can't vine properly up a pole or a netting.

An important note: make sure to harvest squash while they are very small. Do it when the fruit is about 4 to 6 inches long. If it's any bigger it just won't taste as good and may get "woody".

  • Cucumber varieties: Any of the vining type are fine.
  • Melon varieties: Cantaloupe, Muskmelon, Watermelon. One word of warning: many melons can do great on a trellis. However, they are heavy so you will probably need to support them with cotton or nylon slings.

Popular Vertical Supports

There are several common vertical supports you can use for your plants. You can use netting, stakes, strings, and more. If you choose to use a stake, make sure to place it very close to the plant. Put it in the ground first and then plant the seed or young plant around it. This is a good way to go because you are not risking to drive the stake into the roots of the growing plant if you choose to put the stake later.

If you already have large enough plants, or when they grow to the appropriate size, gently lift them up and tie them to the stake or string. After you have successfully started up your string or netting, you will be able to notice a constant growth. Your plants should grow a few inches every few days. You will need to train that new growth up the trellis. This is why it's important to check your plants every few days and keep training the new growth up the string, stake or netting.

This process is easy and fun and it will bring excellent results. Your squash, melons and cucumbers will grow vertically, which will save up some space in your garden and make it look great.

Photo credit: Local Food Initiative

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