The Q&A Archives: Teepee Gardening

Question: I have never grown vegetables up a teepee before. I am hoping to grow pole beans, cucumbers and cantalope up a teepee trellis. I am lashing three 3 inch diameter peeler cores together for my teepee. I am concerned that the plants will not get enough sunlight on one or two sides of the teepee, especially if I were to plant cucumbers up one side, cantalope up another, and beans up the third side. What would be the best way to plant using teepees to ensure an extremely bountiful harvest?

Answer: You can increase your chances of a good harvest by placing your teepee in the sunniest spot available, and planting your cantaloupe on the southwest side. Plant cukes on the west side and beans on the east side of your teepee. As the new plants emerge they'll cling and climb in response to competition from the other plants. It will become a race to see which plant can reach the highest and collect the most sunshine. Since the teepee will be narrower at the top, your vines will probably intermingle there, each jockeying for the best position. With ample water and regular feeding, your plants should grow, flower and produce harvestable crops perched on their teepee home. You'll want to secure the fruits of the cukes and melons so they don't pull the vines down as their weight increases. Make supportive slings out of old nylon stockings and tie the slings to the teepee wherever a fruit appears. Nylon stretches as the fruit grows, cradling each in comfy security. Keep the beans and cucumbers harvested throughout the season to encourage more flowering and fruiting from your plants.

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