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Are these vertical plants too close together?

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Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  Shpigford on 4/20/2013, 3:19 pm

I've got 3' x 15' raised beds. And, according to my understanding of the spacing on these plants...the attached image is how they should be spaced.

But this seems crazy. Seems like all those plants in the inside row would get smothered out by the others because they'd be blocked from the sun.

Am I just over thinking it?

In my attachment, from left to right we've got:
* Butternut squash
* Melons
* Pumpkins
* Cherry Tomatoes
* Tomatoes


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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  Shpigford on 4/22/2013, 9:16 am

Anyone? Ready to get these planted but really hesitant to at this point.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  mollyhespra on 4/22/2013, 9:37 am

I can't find it now, but I thought I saw where someone addressed your concerns in another thread that you either posted in or started. Check there. The short answer is "yes", but read the other thread for the "why" of it.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  Shpigford on 4/22/2013, 9:57 am

@mollyhespra wrote:I can't find it now, but I thought I saw where someone addressed your concerns in another thread that you either posted in or started. Check there. The short answer is "yes", but read the other thread for the "why" of it.

In the other thread, one person said to spread the tall plants across multiple beds, whereas another person just said to build a dozen trellises.

Just wanted to get some additional viewpoints on if splitting up the tall plans across multiple beds is the right thing to do.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  Turan on 4/22/2013, 11:36 am

To expand on what I wrote in your other thread.

Your planting arrangement is not what I would do but that does not mean it can not be done successfully. Sunlight is not my concern on these tall growing things, it is that to keep good air circulation to keep diseases down and have plants available for pruning/picking and a balance in how much time I want to spend pruning and guiding vines in tight quarters. People have had success planting tomatoes in that fashion, using multiple short trellises and a Florida weave.
Pumpkins and squash do a lot of sprawling, though how much depends on things like variety. But again they can be pruned to keep in close quarters. Allowing a bit more room for those plants opens a lot of options. People have some success with arched cattle panels for that. But that would not manage your inner row of those vines.
So if I were you and wanted to have a bed that is all trellis plants I would do the tomatoes trellised with a Florida weave and be fanatical about pruning. Then I would arch cattle panels across the bed or from one bed to another for the squash/pumpkin vines to sprawl over and omit the inner row.

But doing one trellis edge per bed is probably easier, but I do not know your variables.
What I would actually do is different than all the above, but it is not my garden.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  mollyhespra on 4/22/2013, 11:42 am

Oh, good! You found the other thread!

This is how I understood both responses combined: (from SG) since you have room, can you spread out those plants across the North side/end of your beds so as to not shade each other too much? BUT, if you can't, for some reason, you *could* leave them as-is, but you'll have to keep on top of them & do some serious pruning to compensate for the tight spacing. That being the case, Turan suggests many narrow trellises vs. a few long ones.

Does that make things clearer? It's really up to you, but I think that if you take a survey, most folks would say that your current plan isn't optimal & that you'd be better off spreading those tall plants over more beds.

Good luck & HTH!

ETA: WHoops! Turan posted while I was writing (Thanks, T!)

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  quiltbea on 4/22/2013, 11:44 am

I'm not a southern grower but I believe your plants grow bigger and for a longer period than mine.
Even so, I would only plant the vining crops all along the northern row of the bed or if that's the short side, then the west side with shorter plants in the forward two rows.
You won't get as many vining plants per bed, but they'll have space and air circulation which they need.
In all cases I'd put the pumpkins and melons on just the outer two sides so they have lots of trailing room out of the box.
Everyone will have a personal opinion about this. As a gardener, I find that I try something one year, and if it doesn't work I change it the next year to suit my needs.
My only advice will be not to crowd those big plants on all sides.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  No_Such_Reality on 4/22/2013, 12:09 pm

I have one tomato plant that survived the winter. It's on the end spot of my 2'x12' bed. At present, it is roughly 5' high and sprawling to 4' diameter. IMHO, it would do a little better with some others to rub shoulders with. I've found the dense planting helps keep some of the bigger plants upright. And it's kind of like an easter egg hunt to get matos.

I'd be a little concern with the melons, squash and pumpkin. With the hot humid AL weather you'll have, I'd be worried about airflow and getting a fungus, mildew that will wipe the entire batch out.

That's been my weak spot. The higher density in the raised bed is really fatal if you're not johnny on the spot for combating disease. I have a powdery mildew infestation on some bamboo on the far side of the house, it's bad, debating ripping it out, but fear it's just a warning of how bad powdery mildew will be this year with the alternating, morning mist, heat wave, cold wave pattern we have going.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  Lindacol on 4/22/2013, 12:58 pm

If those are all indeterminate tomatoes then that spacing will work IF everything is trellised and pruned. If any of the tomatoes are determinate(bush types) they will need much more space (Mel recommends 9 sq ft each).
I personally would not plant that many tomatoes in one big 'block'. If you get any disease going it will spread thru the whole batch.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  sanderson on 4/23/2013, 2:28 am

Jealous of that long bed. I'm in zone 9B, Summers with 3 weeks over 100 degrees, plus some days of high humidity that I think can be worse that the heat. I get mildew / mold. I use neem oil and/or a home solution of equal parts dish soap, cooking oil and baking soda applied with a hose spray attachment when the temps get below 90.

Vertical indeterminate tomatoes need strong staking. I use Mel's suggestion of electrical conduit and then secure tall bamboo stakes to it for each plant. You Tube "Grow your garden" has good demonstrations for keeping tomatoes vertical through removing the suckers or secondary plants. All my tomatoes are clustered vertically right around the bamboo stakes with the leaves shading. For indeterminate cherry tomatoes, I agree with some of the others that you need more air space between them. Maybe some low lettuces, herbs or marigolds in alternating spaces.

Best of luck from this First Year SFG.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  sanderson on 4/23/2013, 2:41 am

This is my second reply. I put bush beans, soy beans, summer squashes, and cantelopes, any thing that likes to spread out, in large pots scattered around the regular flower beds instead of the MM beds. A few are in the MM corners where they can at least spread out in 2 directions. I'm thinking of rolling out white plastic to keep the vines and produce off the surrounding dirt. Again, best of luck.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  Zekes nursery on 4/23/2013, 7:54 pm

I like the corner idea. Another way to keep the produce out of the dirt would be to lay down a layer of dried leaves. That way you'll have a more natural look and you won't end up with your plant in a puddle that doesn't run off. I've done that with my strawberries.

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

Post  littlejo on 4/23/2013, 8:35 pm

I guess I just have to join in. I live in the humid south and the sun seems to not do here what everyone thinks it will.
My trellis's go from n to s. Right down the center of the bed. Mine are wood frame with fence wire for food to climb on.
If you put the trellis in the center, plants won't have so far to go to get to the trellis. Small pumpkins, and cantalope will have to be supported(hose works fine) Tomatoes are the only problem I see. They will take all the room that you let them have!
Jo

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Re: Are these vertical plants too close together?

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