One of the best ways to increase harvest as well as maximize garden space is to grow upward. Fencing, trellis material, bamboo poles, etc all have a small ground footprint but allow plants to use the vertical instead of just the horizontal. In the various gardens here in Hocking I have some small experiments going on that I wanted to share. Hopefully these give you some ideas to take home.
First up is The Urban Farm:
One of my favorite trellis items is cattle panel. It is not expensive, will last longer than me, and I am not sure I can break it. I cut a 16 foot length in half. I can do a four foot high trellis 8 foot long or an 8 foot high trellis four foot long. Here is a couple ideas. The trellis is zip tied at the top in a steep triangle shape.
Sugar snap peas almost completely covering the cattle panel. I thick plant pea seed way past recommendations. This is possible because I know the compost medium I planted in has some serious fertility to handle the nutrient need
Same concept with tomatoes. Can reach through the panel to harvest tomatoes easily. Will bear a ton of weight without any problems. Clip the zip ties at the end of the season to store the panel.
Next up is Bishop Educational Gardens:
If you missed last week’s Edible Landscaping – Beauty and the Feast workshop you did not get a chance to see the amazingly cool raised beds constructed by a relative of our Hocking County volunteer superstar Andy J.
Seriously. Raised beds made from hardwood facings from logging. Genius. Why did I not think of that?
It is tough to tell from this pic but there are three tiers of height. From L to R, eggplant and peppers, tomatoes, then planted pole beans. This will grow up to be a wall of colors, shapes, and textures that are edible. It is a one side view when standing on the road at the left. The trellis will be bamboo poles sourced from the grounds.
Last up is The Children’s Garden at the fairgrounds:
I showed you recently how I am doing tomatoes planted with espalier technique on chain link fence. That will be dynamite I am hoping. My other vertical experiments are with pole beans using two types of support; one living and one telephone.
Pole beans, var. Christmas Lima, from my friend Sarolin from saved seed here in Logan. They will be able to grow up the telephone pole support wire freely. I am curious to see how high they get.
This is a sunflower plant. I planted pole beans around the base of the plant. They will have a symbiotic relationship. The beans will use the flower as support while providing nutrition to the flower from nitrogen fixing.
I have two support wires for the telephone pole in front of my office to use. This one is getting seeded with pole black beans from Hocking County saved seed from my gardener/chicken friend Beth M.
Lastly. This is a mouse melon plant. It produces grape sized fruit that look like watermelon. This plant is in the ground by the telephone support wire that have the lima beans. This plant will also benefit from nitrogen fixing from the pole beans.
Hopefully you get some ideas to use in your garden. The trellis/support will allow me to use limited space for maximum harvest over the course of the season.