Go vertical (Google / mlive.com)

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Need more gardening space? Go vertical

By Flint Journal staff

I admit I have a hard time thinning vegetable plants that grow on vines, but they take up so much space. If you don’t have a lot of room in your garden, and you want to grow the crawlers that would cover a football field if left on their own, the only place to go is up.

Cucumbers, summer squash, beans, melons and peas will use a lot less ground space if you create some simple trellises to support their upward mobility, and it’s likely you have materials around the garage or shed that will work just fine. Tomato cages, for example, can support a lot more than tomatoes. They are the perfect size for climbing varieties of peas and beans.

A section of fence can support many kinds of vines. I consider the waist high fence that surrounds my garden to keep out critters as the perfect structure to support my gourds and bean plants.

Want to get the whole family involved making artsy one-season plant supports? Assemble “building” supplies such as string and strips of fabric for tying, bamboo poles, small tree branches and worn-out long-handled garden implements, and encourage everyone to get creative. This can be a lot of fun as ingenuity meets structural engineering. Send me photos of your finished projects.

By the way, items such as old wooden chairs that you were going to throw out, a rusty bicycle and an old ladder can do double duty as support for plants and charming garden sculpture.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.