Rural Missouri - May 2013 - (Page 30)

Vertical Gardening Grow vegetables and other edibles using the third dimension Growing vegetables and vining fruits on an arbor or vertical trellis is the most efficient way to add space in a less-than-spacious garden. W by Kris Wetherbee info@ruralmissouri.coop 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. Getting Started 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 good start. Where and how you situate your trellis system is equally important. Keep in mind that plants grown s by to pho 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. Standing Tall 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 rust-resistant trellis. You can position panels to form an A-frame secured at the top, or run panels upright and secure them to metal ee erb eth ck W Ri 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 satisfaction. 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, www.kriswetherbee.com. Trellis Tips • 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 low-growing plants. • 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. http://www.kriswetherbee.com http://www.kriswetherbee.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2013

Rural Missouri - May 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Chronicle of the corncob pipe
Missouri Snapshots contest
The family that drills together
Out of the Way Eats
Where bluegrass grows
Outdoors
Hearth and Home
Veggies and vision
Vertical gardening
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - May 2013

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