Has anyone had success growing summer squash vertically? My attempt at this last year was an utter failure. In trying to train the stems up, they would snap off and break, killing the plant. Does anyone have a successful strategy with this?
I have grown summer squash (pumpkins) vertically two ways – one on a post and wire fence which is really strong because the wire is tensioned between the posts; and the other was the pumpkins grew up into a row of proteas (very woody strong native species) and the fruits nestled themselves into the branches and were harvested from there. I guess that was an accident and somewhat of an experiment by letting them do their own thing but the benefits of growing them vertically are many in our hot sub-tropical climate. Humidity and wet weather are a recipe for mould here so getting them up off the ground keeps them healthy. The only down side is the production is much less than making ‘stations’ between the pumpkins along the vine so they can develop more roots to feed the extra fruits.
I don’t have any pics to show you but there are a couple of good videos that show you different methods that I’ve seen as I have a passion for vertical gardening methods in general. If you are going to grow pumpkins vertically, I’d suggest choosing your variety carefully so you leave the really heavy ones to grow on the ground and smaller more compact varieties to fruit vertically.
The photo shows some of the pumpkins harvested from our protea vertical gardens.
Hope this helps!
Summer squash are generally bush type plants that don’t grow up a trellis or wire, etc., unless you plant it in some growing medium attached to a vertical surface. The medium is usually held in place by wire or some sort of mesh and covered with plastic film or something like moss or coir. Then holes are cut into it so that plant can be planted into it. They are usually watered/fed through a reservior at the top of the medium container. I had some really good plans from an old Reader’s Digest Gardening book for a moveable (on heavy duty wheels) garden wall that I grew lettuce & other greens on. Here is a video of a vertical garden that’s a lot like the one I had before. If I can find the plans I’ll post them in case someone wants to try it. It uses a lightweight growing medium like potting soil.
Here is a video of a different type of vertical garden wall that might interest you, although summer squash might be a little big for a garden wall, but it might work with the proper support.
These types of vertical gardens can be fun and attractive, but if it’s not quite what you had in mind, you could grow winter squash, like pumpkin, as The_Micro_Gardener suggested on some sort of support. Since winter squash are generally vining plants, they are well suited to growing this way, but they may grow up a trellis, down again & still go trailing off into the garden/yard. A neighbor down the street grows calabasa, a type of winter squash, on his chain link fence. Even though these 5-7 lb. squash look like they are hanging by a thread of a stem, without support under the heavy squash, they still hung on. Here’s a video that might help you for this type of vertical garden:
Something like this might also work for you, but I think you could make something similar to this with wood.
I hope this helps some.
Thank you both! These are fantastic ideas!! I’ve got two upside down planters that I’d considered experimenting the bush type with and my neighbor has a chain link fence I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me borrowing in exchange for some squash :)