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Questions on vegetable plants that require vertical support

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Questions on vegetable plants that require vertical support

Post  dosstx on 6/25/2017, 2:16 pm

Hello, 
 Second time doing a SFG and had some questions:


  1. How do I know which plants require vertical support? A few years ago I tried out SFG and while it was a success, a lot of my vegetables sprawled along the ground outside the box. Am I supposed to use some kind of vertical support ? 

  2. Can I place a 1x4 box next to a chain link fence and then use the fence as a vertical support system for plants?
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Re: Questions on vegetable plants that require vertical support

Post  countrynaturals on 6/25/2017, 4:08 pm

As a general rule, trellising is better than letting your plants crawl on the ground for several reasons.
1) Slugs love organic matter. If all they can find are stems, they will usually move on.
2) Fungi and some diseases thrive on close quarters. Trellises allow better air circulation to let your plants breathe. The plants also get more "exercise" in the breeze and become stronger.
3) Trellised plants are more accessible for you to supervise and harvest.
4) Vertical gardening maximizes space. You can plant all sorts of small stuff under your trellised vines.
5) If you plan carefully, your trellised plants can protect smaller, more sensitive plants from too much sun or wind.
6) Attractive trellises can add visual interest to your garden.
7) Many plants don't like to be watered from above. Trellising keeps the leaves and fruit above the watering level. 

I'm sure you'll hear from the experts on this -- I'm just a newbie -- but I support everything that wants to lay down, either with cages, support sticks, or a trellis. That includes tomatoes, peppers, peas, cucumbers, and beans. The heavier crops, like melons, I mulch like crazy so the fruit never touches dirt. BTW, I am old school sfg -- still using soil -- so the ANSFG experts might have better info for MM.

I see nothing wrong with using the chain link fence as long as you can get to it. I had a problem in my sfg bed last year at the corners, where I couldn't reach to the back trellis. (I don't plant climbers in the corners any more. Rolling Eyes)

With all that said, I still plant peas in goofy unused, places and let them crawl. There's no maintenance, I may still get some to harvest, and the plants replenish nitrogen in the soil for next season. geek
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Re: Questions on vegetable plants that require vertical support

Post  sanderson on 6/26/2017, 8:50 am

Hi Doss, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here

I like what CountryNaturals stated about trellising. If it wants to lay down, it gets trellised, caged or staked. Anything with the words "pole", as in beans and peas, or "indeterminate" as in tomatoes needs support. Vining plants like winter squash, small sugar melons, cantaloupes, and cucumbers like trellises. (However, there is a bush cucumber variety.) Regarding the chain link fence, can you reach over it or walk around for tending and harvesting?

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Re: Questions on vegetable plants that require vertical support

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/26/2017, 12:10 pm

Hi Dosstx. Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

I have my boxes next to chain link fence & use the fencing for trellising. But I also have extended trellising over them. So the chain link is a good start. (You can see my trellising under the Garden Showcase link - AtlantaMarie's Garden.) Your plants WILL grow longer than the fence is tall. I've had some stuff spread out horizontally on the trellising a good 10-15 feet.

You DO need to be aware that you need to put something like heavy plastic between the fence & the box. Or you'll get weeds, grass, tree seedlings, etc. growing between them. Ask me how I know..... It's a real problem too! Especially since I'm trying to grow organically.
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