It’s that season. We need to be thinking ahead, and up, since so many good growing plants are going to be going up soon, as long as we have the right trellises. For the new veggie gardeners out there, you’re probably trying to grow the gardener’s friend, the humble tomato. You might have some cucumbers, or squash, or melons, or peas and green beans. If you’re growing any of these, you should be trellising them up.
Trellising gives vegetables air circulation by bringing them off the ground. Without good air circulation fruit rots more quickly, drawing pests to it, and ripens unevenly. Train a vining plant to go up, instead of out, and you’ll get bigger harvests with fewer thrown away crops. You’ll also have a much easier time accessing your harvest. Instead of stooping over your bed and rooting through vines and leaves, you can just pick the fruit where it dangles from the trellis. But most important, trellising gives any gardener more space options, and with those options comes creativity, which is where we’re focusing today.
Set up your cucumber trellises at an angle. Not only does this provide easy access to the cukes as they ripen and drop below the trellis framework, but the rampant growth of leaves and vines creates a natural shade cover for anything underneath. You’ve suddenly got the space, and the environment, for a cluster of kale, or a bunch of lettuce.
Tomatoes are great for growing in cages, but if you train them up narrower trellising options you’ll get way more space around the tomato plant. Some DIYers will run string between two tall sticks, making a ladder for their plants. With lighter, but rapidly growing cherry tomato plants there can be some success getting them trained up lines like peas. Of course, there are our tomato ladders, which are sturdier than string trellising, and can take the weight of even the largest tomato harvest.
Finally, peas, like cucumbers, can grow rapidly, and create great shade cover with the right trellis. Because the fruit is smaller, though, you can get away with trellising them so that they grow totally vertical, or you can grow them in a tunnel, where one edge of the plant almost touches the ground. The smaller size of peas makes the concerns about air circulation much less of a concern, and making a pea tunnel makes a great place for children to play. Get them used to your garden before make them gather the bounty.
Anyway, here are some of our ideas. We’d love to see what you’re doing with your trellises.