Puttering In The Potager – Week 16 of 2010
(Week 16 comes between April 19th and 25th)
Very few vegetable gardeners make effective use of vertical growing techniques, with the possible exception of the ubiquitous tomato. Vertical gardening is not really a secret, but the barrier is the reality of rigging a trellis, a tepee or some kind of poles that do not fall over when the plants are mature and the windy day happens.
Why Grow Vertically?
Produce More Food In Same Space — The most important reason for using vertical space in the vegetable garden is to save horizontal space – space that can be used for growing additional vegetables without having to make the garden any bigger. Most folks don’t realize that bush beans weren’t developed because they taste better but simply because commercial farmers couldn’t find a machine to harvest pole beans. Pole beans taste as good, freeze as well, and produce longer than do bush beans. The disadvantage of growing pole beans is finding an easy way to set up some kind of device on which they can grow. Pole beans will produce twice as much as bush beans in the same space.
Tomatoes, as everyone knows, if left to sprawl will take up to 10 times as much space as those that are trained to grow vertically. The same is true for winter squash, melons, and cucumbers. Growing these crops vertically makes them eligible for even a modest vegetable patch.
Veggies Grown Vertically Are Healthier
Vegetables that are grown off the ground are cleaner and avoid problems like soil rot and many crawling insects such as slugs and sow bugs. The leaves of vertical plants have more area exposed to the sun, and the improved air circulation around a vertical crop reduces the changes of disdease. Vertical crops tend to dry off faster after a rain, and this further reduces disease problems.
What Will Grow Vertical?
Depending on the design of your trellis system, you can grow the following vegetables vertically: Cucumbers, Garden or Snap Peas, Pole Lima, Snap or Roma Beans, Tomatoes, Some Melons, Acorn squash, and Butternut squash
If you click on any of the vegetables in the above list, you will go to the section in Yardener.com discussing the details for growing that vegetable vertically.
Soil Temperature Report
The soil temperature this morning was 59 degrees, almost ready for cool weather brassicas like cabbage.
What’s Happening In Nature In Zone Five
The Forsythia is in bloom which means this is a good time to prune your roses. The leaves on the sugar maple tree should be coming out in the next week or two. For those of us lucky to live near a swamp the Jack in the Pulpit will be in bloom. The hostas should be about 1 inch tall and therefore it is time to start attacking the slugs. The real ladybugs are returning from Mexico and California (aphids beware). You’ll see the honeybees starting to forage and again in the swamp we will hear the frogs peeping their heads off. This is the time to put the hummingbird feeder outside.