Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going Vertical in Your Garden

No matter what method of gardening you embrace, there are many benefits to encouraging large, sprawling plants to grow up. This is especially true in Square Foot Gardening, where you pack so many plants into a small area. If we didn't go vertical, our pumpkins, tomatoes, etc. would completely smother the rest of the garden.

Hubby Dear and I installed the last of our garden supports last evening.

It was a gorgeous evening - perfect for working with rusty steel wire and PVC pipes!

These are the types of support we use in our garden:

Tomato cages

Our tomatoes and cages right after installation (mid-May)

We tried using store-bought tomato cages once and found that they are far too flimsy. We now use the tried and true method my Dad came up with years ago. We use steel remesh, which is wire intended for use in concrete work. The remesh comes in a large roll and is readily available at home improvement stores everywhere. Simply snip off the appropriate length of remesh with some bolt cutters, bend it into shape, and voila! Instant, mega-strong tomato cages. We secure the cages to the ground with T-posts, which are also easy to find at a hardware or farm store.

Pumpkin, Cucumber, Watermelon, and Canteloupe Trellis

Trellis along the north border of our garden for pumpkins and watermelon

The thing about steel remesh wire is that it comes on looooong rolls. The only size our local Lowe's had was 150' long. This meant that we were left with a lot of remesh left over after we made our tomato cages. No problem - we needed something to use for our vining plants.


We stretched the remesh out and attached it to T-posts. The vine plants will climb up and over the trellis. If you plan on trellising your vine plants, you need to make sure you pick the right types at planting time. The pumpkins, watermelon, and canteloupe varieties we selected have fruit on the small to medium size. Our trellising is very strong, but I'm not sure what would happen if we had a couple of 50 lb pumpkins hanging off it!


Another windy day on the ol' homestead. Soon the corn will be tall enough to get supported by the framework.

Corn is not something that you usually have to support. Here's the deal: Mel's Mex is great, but it is also soft. Corn is liable to get pushed over in a high wind, even in normal soil. We got the idea for this corn support made out of PVC pipe from this post on MySquareFootGarden.Net.

My garden looks like some crazy plumbing project now, but if it is productive, it will all be worth it!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Thanks for posting this! I will have to look for the steel remesh around here... have been struggling to find something suitable (and with big enough holes to reach through for harvesting!)