Monday, March 1, 2010
Growing veggies up is a sneaky way to get more out of your space. This is perfect for a small garden, but even those with sizable plots should take advantage of vining veggies. For example, when you grow pole beans, you can expect a 1 1/2 to 3 X larger harvest than if you planted the same space with bush beans - pretty impressive, eh?
Some of my favourite crops to grow up include pole beans ('Fortex' and 'Emerite'), peas ('Super Sugar Snap'), cucumbers ('Lemon' and Beit-Alpha type cukes like 'Sultan'), gourds (snake, spinning top, speckled swan, etc), and even small fruiting melons and winter squash ('Baby Boo' pumpkins).
You do need a sturdy structure to support your vigorous vines, especially for heavier crops like gourds and small pumpkins. I use a variety of structures including bamboo teepees, A-frame trellises, garden netting and even the deer fence that surrounds our gardens.
Growing crops up also provides another opportunity for space-savvy gardeners! Generally most vining crops are at their prime in the heat of summer - the time when many salad greens begin to wither. By growing greens beneath your structures - A-frame trellises or bamboo teepees - you provide an area sheltered from the sun that is ideal for summer crops of arugula, baby spinach or leaf lettuce.