Squash plants grow on vines that sprawl over the garden bed. The sprawling habit can waste a lot of space, especially in smaller beds. Training the squash to run up a trellis saves space while also making the mature squash simpler to locate and harvest. Smaller squash varieties that weigh less than 3 pounds work best on trellises, such as summer squashes and small acorn types. The vines do not climb the trellis on their own, so must be trained up the support and tied in place.
Things You'll Need
- 4 stakes, 6 feet long, 2 by 2 inches thick
- Concrete reinforcing mesh
- Cloth ties
Tie together the tops of two 6-foot-long, 2-by-2-inch wooden stakes with twine. Repeat with two more stakes, so you have two sets of attached stakes.
Install the attached stakes in the garden bed, one pair at each end of the squash row but place them no more than 5 to 6 feet apart. Push the bottom of the stakes into the ground 8 to 10 inches, and space each stake in the pair 3 to 4 feet apart so that each pair resembles an "A."
Drape a sheet of concrete reinforcing mesh on one side of the A-frame stakes, stretching the mesh between the two pairs of stakes. Staple or tie the mesh to the stakes securely. Attach a second sheet of mesh to the other side of the A-frame.
Plant your squash along the base of the mesh, spacing it as indicated on the label or packet for the specific variety. Plant a second row of squash along the mesh on the back of the A-frame.
Tie the squash vines to the mesh as they grow, spacing ties every 6 to 8 inches along each fine. Use soft cotton cord as ties, and place the ties above flower clusters.
Tips & Warnings
- Make a wider trellis by using more stake pairs as supports down the length of the trellis.
- Never tie the vine below a squash fruit. If the vine slips through the cord, the cord will separate the fruit from the vine prematurely.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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