Rural Missouri - May 2013 - (Page 30)
Grow vegetables and other
edibles using the third
vegetables and vining
fruits on an arbor or vertical
trellis is the most efﬁcient way to add
space in a less-than-spacious garden.
by Kris Wetherbee
hen garden space is limited, you can
still grow space-hungry vegetables
such as squash, melons and proliﬁc
cucumbers. Growing vegetables and
vining fruits on an arbor or vertical trellis is one of
the most efﬁcient ways to add space in a less-thanspacious garden. Not only will you be able to grow
more produce in less space, but the added sun and
air on plant surfaces will help bring a superior quality to the produce.
Growing vertically improves air circulation, which
helps minimize mildew and other plant diseases.
Trellising also eliminates soil contact so fruits and
vegetables stay cleaner and are less likely to rot.
Fruits are quicker to ripen and often more ﬂavorful
due to the additional sunlight exposure. And since
the veggies and fruits are more visible and not hidden beneath lush growth, they can be harvested at
the peak of perfection.
Trellising also saves strain on your back as there is
minimal stooping, bending or hunching over needed
to harvest crops.
And just imagine the extra watering, weeding and
feeding it would take to grow enough bush beans or
peas to equal the yield that pole varieties produce
when grown on vertical supports.
Before setting up any type of trellis system, amend
the soil with lots of rich compost or well-rotted
manure prior to planting. This is key to producing
optimum yields in a smaller space. By improving the
soil tilth and fertility, you will help get plants off to a
Where and how you situate your trellis system is
equally important. Keep in mind that plants grown
vertically will cast a shadow. Running your trellis in
an east-to-west direction on the north side of your
garden will create optimal light exposure for trellised
plants while casting the fewest number of shadows
in the garden. Shadows cast over neighboring sunloving crops can be minimized by running your
trellis in a north-to-south direction, though vertical
plants on the northern end of the trellis will receive
less light than plants on the southern end.
A few shadows are inevitable, but they can
become an asset if you use them to your advantage.
Plant shade-tolerant crops such as lettuce, spinach
and other heat-sensitive vegetables, ﬂowers and
herbs near a plant-laden trellis.
A variety of trellis systems can be used to grow vegetables vertically. You can purchase pre-made trellises and arbors from most garden centers, or you
can make your own using tomato cages, hog panels
or poles, stakes and string.
Plants are typically grown up plastic or string
mesh, chicken wire, hog panels or hand-strung
twine or wire attached to trellis supports made of
metal, wood, bamboo, plastic or PVC pipe.
A favorite material for trellising plants is a hog
or cattle panel. These are basically sections of
fencing made of galvanized heavy wire. Cattle
panels are usually about 5 feet tall with 6-by6-inch-square openings. Hog panels are about
3 feet tall, with 6-by-6-inch-square openings
at the top that get progressively smaller
lower to the ground. Available at farm
supply stores, they provide an inexpensive way of creating a long-lasting and
You can position panels to form an
A-frame secured at the top, or run panels upright and secure them to metal
posts spaced about 5 feet apart in a row, attaching
the panel to each post with heavy-duty wire or zip
ties. To raise the trellis height to 6 feet tall, simply
attach the panel 2 feet off the ground.
Whether you place your trellis horizontally or
vertically, growing certain crops off the ground will
expand your gardening options for space-hungry
vegetables and fruits. Either way, your garden — and
the bounty it provides — will soar to new heights of
Kris Wetherbee is a freelance writer and author
from Oregon who specializes in the areas
of gardening, food and outdoor living. For more tips on gardening, visit her website,
• Keep plant roots and
seeded beds intact by installing
your trellis before planting.
• Choose netting or panels with large
openings for easy harvest.
• Set your trellis ﬁrmly in place by
sinking trellis posts 1 to 2 feet deep.
• Arrange vertical frame trellises in a
zigzag pattern, as an arbor or with
spacing between frames to create
different areas and microclimates for
• Avoid installing permanent trellises
Trellising eliminates soil contact so vegetables and fruits stay cleaner and are less likely to rot. Fruits are
quicker to ripen and often more ﬂavorful due to the additional sunlight exposure.
that can hinder garden activities
such as tilling.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2013
Rural Missouri - May 2013
Table of Contents
Chronicle of the corncob pipe
Missouri Snapshots contest
The family that drills together
Out of the Way Eats
Where bluegrass grows
Hearth and Home
Veggies and vision
Rural Missouri - May 2013