Growing Squash in Smaller Spaces
During past seasons, squash plants have taken over a lot of space. This year, I decided to try growing vertical squash. (read more about my Garden Love – 2016)
While the squash plants were still very small, I put tomato cages over them. Each day, I watched growth to see if any leaves were ready to be carefully lifted to the next level. Sometimes the process got tricky because the leaves and stems were almost long enough but not quite, and sometimes they just temporarily crowded each other.
In the photo below, you can see a problem I encountered. My daily diligence waned a little and some leaves and stems got ahead of me and it was too late to feed them up to the next level. This left them top-heavy and primed to catch wind or water and get weighed down over the cage wire.
This is what it looks like when they get weighed down. The stem bends down over on itself, and will not reclaim its former glory.
I have six vertical squash mounds with three different types of tomato cages. I am reserving judgement on which ends up working the best. In the picture below is a cheapo tomato cage turned upside down (per suggestion on Pinterest). Actually, I am thinking that a cheapo right side up might be better. While upside down, as the rings get smaller, the leaves get very crowded and difficult to continue to feed upwards to the next level.
As for what the plants look like at the base – so far so good. I really like how all the leaves are up out-of-the-way, and it looks like it is going to be easy to keep an eye on the growing squash and easy to pick.
In past seasons, I have seen a good strong wind come along and blow over a whole squash mound. I am hoping these will hold up better in a strong wind since they are in a cage. Although, I feel sure the biggest stems and leaves would probably get ruined, I don’t think the whole plant would get ruined.
I will continue to update on this vertical squash experiment as the season progresses.