Growing vegetables on trellises saves precious space in an ambitious vegetable garden. This vertical growing technique lets vining vegetables climb and helps keep large, indeterminate plants like tomatoes under control. Vegetables that trellis well include beans, peas, cucumbers, squash and melons. Provide adequate support for climbing and fruit production to enhance your vertical harvest.
Peas and Beans
Peas and pole beans practically demand trellises. These climbers will flourish on trellises with plenty of strings or netting that let slender tendrils get a strong grip. Once you have gently guided early tendrils up the strings, they will surge toward the top. Stems are strong enough to support the pods they produce; all you do is pick.
Climbing cucumbers are generally more productive than bush varieties. They grow well on teepee-style trellises of bamboo poles and string, and vines can reach 6 feet or more in height. Because cucumbers are subject to rot if they remain on garden soil, your harvest will be greatly enhanced by trellising.
Both summer and winter squash do well on trellises. Pick summer squashes before they exceed 6 to 8 inches in length so that heavy fruit does not break away from its stem or pull down sections of vine.
Winter squashes put a strain on vertical vines, partly because maturing fruits are heavy and partly because they need a long growing season. Providing support for the fruits helps them achieve full growth. Gardeners tie or staple pieces of netting, flexible garden ties or lengths of pantyhose to make slings for individual squash. Pumpkins are members of the squash family, too; an up-and-down pumpkin patch provides a charming fall harvest.
Use homemade safety nets for cantaloupes and small varieties of watermelons in your vertical garden. Net fruits loosely to allow for growth, and secure the nets to the trellis. Check growing melons periodically to ensure they are growing fully. New, smaller varieties let you produce single-serving or small-family treats.
Instead of caging large, rambling tomato plants (called "indeterminate"), secure branches to trellising with flexible tape or fabric. Avoid wire, which can dent or break fragile stems. Trimming unproductive branches ("suckers") helps tomato plants direct energy toward fruit production, and trellising helps support heavily laden branches. Check vigorous plants every few days to keep new growth under control. Tie branches to the trellis as soon as fruit forms. Stems will be strong enough to support the fruit.