If you’re short on space or only have a balcony or courtyard available for your vegetable growing there are a number of climbing or trailing vegetables that are quite easy to grow up a trellis to save on space and still produce a great yield.
There are quite a number of options for constructing your trellis. You can use simple garden stakes made from timber or bamboo and either tie on a few rows of twine at regular intervals or use chicken wire with the garden stakes weaved through the holes for support.
Hammer the stakes into the ground if you’re using a garden bed or you can put your trellis into the back of a large pot if growing on a balcony. You can also put the trellis into the center of a pot as you can then plant on either side of the trellis whether it be the same variety or 2 different types of vegetables all together. Just make sure that both types make good companions though. Alternatively, you can attach your trellis onto a wall or fence.
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You can also purchase a variety of different types and sizes of trellis from your local hardware store or garden center or check out garage sales or flea markets for unwanted items you can use or adapt.
Apart from space-saving, there are other advantages to trellising your vegetables. As it keeps plants off the ground there is less risk of disease or rotting as your produce is not in contact with the soil. Harvesting is also much easier as most of your crops will be within easy reach. Trellising can also improve yields which is definitely an advantage when it comes to urban gardening.
Here’s a list of vegetables that are easy to grow up a trellis:
Look for non-bush varieties and then train the ‘branches’ to grow up the trellis by attaching them with garden twine or wire. Remember to attach them fairly loosely so that the twine or wire does not damage
the stem. To keep a good shape and make your plant easy to train up the trellis you can easily remove or pinch off new growth that appears at the front of the plant.
If you use climbing varieties, you’ll find it really easy to encourage the growing plant to cling to your trellis as the plant sends out tendrils for just this purpose. Just very gently wind these tendrils around the support wires or twine of your trellis taking care not to break them.
Cucumbers and Gherkins
These are generally trailing or vining plants so will take readily to being trained up a trellis by attaching the growing stems, once again, with garden twine or wire. The vines should be strong enough to support the growing fruit without needing any additional forms of support.
Squash and Pumpkins
Try to select miniature varieties as the growing fruit will not be too heavy for the vine to support. These are trained up the trellis just the same as cucumbers. If however, you find that the fruit on the pumpkins is getting a little too heavy for the vine you can help support them by making a little ‘hammock’ for each using some lightweight fabric like an old t-shirt or old stockings for example. Just cradle the fruit in the fabric and attach the fabric to the trellis itself.