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Training Zephyr Squash To Climb A Trellis

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Training Zephyr Squash To Climb A Trellis

Post  Hasselback on 5/15/2012, 9:13 pm

Hello all.

I've been told by the seed distributor, that the Zephyr squash that I've ordered can be trained to climb a trellis. Can anyone give me any guidance on the best way to do this? Also, what (if any) pruning is advisable for this type of plant. I'm short on space...aren't we all...so I'd really like to get these guys vertical.

G.
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Re: Training Zephyr Squash To Climb A Trellis

Post  givvmistamps on 5/16/2012, 1:29 am

Hi Hasselback! I have been training my pumpkins up a trellis quite successfully! I'm using a nylon net on a metal electrical conduit frame fitted over rebar pounded into the ground. It's pretty easy to train them once they get tall enough. Just wrap the nylon net around the newest growth (gently) and then the little tendrils will grip onto the nylon to strengthen it's hold. Here's a photo of four pumpkin plants at different stages of growth:



My plants had extensive damage in a hailstorm, causing me to have to trim a lot of large leaves off, so they look a bit thin/leggy. The advantage is that you can see how I've gotten them trained. They seem quite happy to grow up the trellis instead of taking over a small hill, and I've managed to get four pumpkin plants into a 1'x4' box instead of having to take up a 4'x4' space for one plant. The two on the right have already put out buds, and I expect they'll bloom pretty soon. The two on the left are a couple weeks younger (and a different variety); they just got tall enough for me to start wrapping the netting around them a few days ago.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Training Zephyr Squash To Climb A Trellis

Post  Hasselback on 5/16/2012, 1:39 am

Thanks a million for the input.

Do you prune them at all? Are there secondary growth points that need to come off, like you pull the suckers off of tomatoes?

G.
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Re: Training Zephyr Squash To Climb A Trellis

Post  givvmistamps on 5/16/2012, 3:44 am

My garden got hit pretty hard by a hailstorm ten days ago, so my pruning has all been to remove severely damaged leaves. You can see that some of the leaves I left on the plants have holes in them where the hail ripped right through them. I would not have pruned these plants if it hadn't been for that freak storm, followed by insects and diseases taking advantage of the weakened state of the plants.

They're only growing one vine so far, so no suckers like tomatoes. (Hopefully someone else will chime in, as this is my first year growing squash, but my experience so far says there aren't suckers.) I will note that these pumpkins have much smaller leaves than my other squash, but the other squash I'm growing are not the vining type like the pumpkins are so that may account for the leaf size difference.
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Re: Training Zephyr Squash To Climb A Trellis

Post  MorningSong on 5/19/2012, 5:05 pm

I've grown pumpkins and winter squash vertically for years.

I usually don't prune the vines until they get to the top of my trellis. As soon as I do, secondary vines will start growing from the main one. If they get too out of hand, I crop them too, and usually they will try to put out new shoots off the secondary vines....

You really shouldn't cut the secondary vines off (like tomatoe suckers). The secondary growth will ensure a continuous harvest for the whole season.

Yet, if you have a very short growing season, that is another story... you might want to remove the secondary growth to ensure that the fruit on the main vine matures in time for harvest.
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Re: Training Zephyr Squash To Climb A Trellis

Post  walshevak on 5/19/2012, 6:11 pm

Thanks for the information MorningSong. Glad to learn something today.

Kay

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