The Q&A Archives: How to grow a vertical vegetable garden.

Question: I have very limited space for a garden and would like to grow them vertically. What is the best way to do this for peas, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, and pumpkins.

Answer: Peas will scramble up anything, just provide something taut. I like to use a large piece of hardware wire (the stiff wire with big squares) between two sturdy supports. Some gardeners use string, but I'm too impatient for all that tying!

Cucumbers are usually self supporting on the vine when trellised (especially if you pick them often and do not let them get too big and old). Eggplant doesn't usually require trellising--it's more shrubby like a pepper plant.

For heavier gourds and pumpkins, provide plenty of support or it will tear the vine off of the trellis. Gardeners have
fashioned all types of supports from sections of hosiery for smaller fruit such as small squash and cantaloupes, on up to slings made of torn sheets or netting for watermelons and pumpkins. Tie the support to the trellis when the fruit is the size of a baseball or softball and as the fruit grows it will provide adequate support. It is best to use materials that do not stretch too much or the growing fruit will cause the support too sag and not do its job. Check the supports periodically to make sure they are working right.

You may find this article, "Trellising Vine Crops", helpful. Thanks for writing!

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