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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Growing Vegetables Vertically Saves Space

Q. I like to decorate my backyard with trellises and would like to grow vegetables vertically. Are   there some late season vegetables I can train up my trellises for fall and winter harvest and when should I plant them?

A. Growing plants vertically is a good space saver for smaller backyards and allows you to concentrate production in a smaller area. Allowing vegetable plants with soft fruits, such as tomatoes, to sprawl on the ground increases fruit losses perhaps as much is 30% of total yield.
Cucumbers on a wire trellis
Speaking first about tomatoes, a very interesting technique developed in Florida for commercial tomato production is called the Florida Weave. You can see how this is done at Wiki How http://www.wikihow.com/Tie-Tomatoes-Using-the-Florida-Weave

Some good vegetables to grow by trellising when temperatures cool off toward September include pole beans with two of my favorites being Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake which have wonderful flavor. They are also available in Bush types but I still think the flavor is better when these varieties are grown on poles or trellises. 

 Vegetable Trellis on Pinterest

Don't forget to try pole peas such as Sugar Snap where you can eat the pod and the peas (after you remove the string..remember that string?). Another favorite of mine for taste is Lincoln. It can be trellised or grown as a bush but it is a very high producer and great flavor.
Trellissing tomato and cucumber in the greenhouse

If you want edible pea pods then I would recommend Mammoth (Melting). I also like yardlong beans for growing on trellises. They tend to like warmer weather so planting a bit early should not be a problem. One of the most common varieties is Asparagus yardlong or Chinese yardlong beans.

Another I would recommend is the Scarlet Runner Bean. It has beautiful red flowers and the pods are edible or you can shell them when they mature.
Trombocino squash trellised

Next year when trellising, for fun try the loofa squash which is edible when the fruit is young, about 8 to 10 inches long and used as a loofa sponge when it is mature. It produces some long vines that can be trellised.

Another fun one is the trumpet or trumbetta squash which produces a 6 foot squash that is long and straight when trellised and coiled when grown on the ground.

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