Double your growing space with a trellis!
So you want to grow a pumpkin or melon vine, but you’re worried about the room they take up? Or maybe you just want to get the most out of your growing space?
Here’s the perfect solution! Did you know that a trellis can literally double your garden space?
Not only can you can train plants like peas and beans up them- they’re also great for growing tomatoes, eggplant, melons, pumpkins and cucumbers!
Growing tomatoes, eggplant , cucumbers and capsicum vertically has been done in greenhouses across the world for a long time, but I first came across this technique in Eliot Coleman’s books. He (and many others) grow these plants vertically using a frame and a single vertical string. You manually attach the plant to the string, or twist it around the string as it grows. I knocked together a quick trellis for my front garden last week ready for spring and summer harvests.
Another valuable resource is Mel Bartholomew’s “Square Foot Gardening“. Mel recommends growing all the above (as well as melons and pumpkins) vertically using special nylon mesh (capable of holding 60+ kilos of produce). While I have so far been unable to source the nylon mesh in Australia, I’ve found that standard 100mm x 100mm square mesh from fencing suppliers works just as well.
Now you can grow that dream pumpkin only using 50cm of ground (or just 12cm for cucumbers!) In fact, one 2.4 metre long trellis could grow 2 cucumbers, 1 pumpkin, 1 melon, 4 tomato vines and 9 beans. That’s HEAPS of food!
Fruit trees are also great to grow on trellises. This technique is called espaliering and can be used for great decorative effect as well as saving space. Here are some pictures of a fruit tree trellis I’ve recently built for a client. The trellis can accommodate 8 trees in a space that could normally only handle 2-3!
For more information about vertical gardening, you won’t go wrong if you grab a copy of Mel Bartholomew’s “All New Square Foot Gardening“. And for some instant inspiration, here’s a video showing techniques of square foot gardening and vertical growing in action. You can also buy my trellis kit or get one custom built for you- call me for a chat. Happy growing!