There are time-honored gardening traditions: the best time to plant, soil conditioners and additives, fertilizing best practices, and watering methods. Did you know that trellising fruits and vegetables is a long-practiced gardening technique that not only keeps plants off the ground, but improves production and increases usable space?
It also prevents your harvest, particularly tomatoes, from rotting when hidden deep within the plant or when sitting directly on the soil. There are nearly as many trellising options as there are varieties to grow. The trick is finding the most practical one for your needs.
Crops to Consider
These varieties are natural climbers and benefit from trellising:
- Pole Beans
- Squash and Pumpkins
Most tomato varieties benefit from strong support. Deciding the best way to keep unruly plants in some semblance of order depends on the tomato variety and its growth patterns. Determinate tomatoes are mid-sized plants that grow to a fixed mature size and ripen all their fruit in a short period; they will benefit from a little boost off the ground in the form of stakes or cages. Indeterminate varieties continue to grow all season, with fruits ripening until the plant is killed by frost; these do well trained on a trellis system.
The benefits of trellising aren’t limited to tomatoes. Training other crops to grow vertically instead of sprawling all over the garden not only keeps the produce off the ground, it allows you to plant more in a smaller area.
Many people don’t consider training other vegetables and fruits, such as cucumbers, zucchini or small melons, to grow up a trellis. It’s terribly disappointing to look forward to fresh cantaloupe only to find a rotten spot on the bottom where it sat on the ground. Elevating the fruit above the soil will prevent this, as well as make harvesting and weeding easier. It also keeps them above the reach of hungry slugs.
Growing small melons or pumpkins on a trellis system not only keeps the fruit off the ground and makes harvesting easier, it’s aesthetically pleasing to have the colorful fruit hanging like ornaments on the vines.
Arboria offers several trellis items to assist in your 2018 trellis gardening: