How to Train Zucchini to Vine on a Trellis
Vertical gardening is growing in popularity among many gardeners. Instead of using large amounts of soil space growing vegetables along the ground, instead train your vegetables to grow up along some kind of support system. Many vegetables train easily to grow upwards instead of along the soil, with zucchinis being one of the easiest. Plant your zucchini plants along a fence or trellis and then train the vines to climb as they grow.
Prepare a sunny growing area for the zucchini plants when the soil is warm and all threat of frost is over. Work the soil with the garden spade down to a depth of between 6 and 8 inches. Add 2 to 4 inches of compost to the top of the soil and work this in with the spade. Rake the soil smooth to finish preparing the growing area.
Secure the support system you are using for the zucchini plants into the soil prior to planting the seeds. Zucchini plants become heavy as they mature, so the support system must be sturdy. An existing fence would serve perfectly as a zucchini support. Lacking this, insert a trellis at least 6 inches into the soil, or construct a support with 4-foot high t-posts and heavy metal fencing. Insert the t-posts 6 inches into the soil (spacing them every 3 feet) and stretch the metal fencing along the t-posts. Attach the metal fencing to the t-posts by tucking it under the metal clips on the t-posts to finish constructing the support system.
Plant the zucchini seeds along the support system. Plant the seeds in groups of two, spacing the seed groups 2 feet apart. Plant the seeds beneath 1 inch of soil. Pat the soil firmly over the zucchini seeds and water well immediately after planting.
Thin the seeds when they are 3 to 4 inches high. Remove the weaker of the two plants from each seed group. You should now have one strong zucchini plant growing every 2 feet.
Find the main stem of each zucchini plant as it grows larger. Carefully tie the main stem to the support with short pieces of twine to encourage the zucchini plants to grow up the support system. As the main vine continues to grow longer, continue to tie it to the support system until each zucchini plant is growing along the support system. Once you have trained the main stem of each zucchini plant, it will no longer be necessary to continue to tie the stem to the support system.
Harvest zucchinis growing along the support system easily by finding them as they hang from the vines attached to the supports. Pick zucchinis when they are between 4 and 6 inches long for the most flavorful zucchinis.