The vertical growing we’re experimenting with in the Dirt to Dinner garden includes lots of different trials. We have a bed of All Blue potatoes that started out in a shallow raised bed in 4″ of soil. We are hammering on new boards and adding more soil until the potatoes are eventually growing through 2′ of soil in a raised bed at least that tall, in hopes of a larger potato harvest.
We have the Three Sisters beds where the corn will grow to support the beans that will climb up the stalks and the squash will, ideally, cover the ground, shade everybody’s roots and help keep the whole thing stable in a headwind. Luckily, the beds are up against the fence.
We are also using several different vertical methods with our tomato crops. The determinate plants, like the Romas and the drying tomatoes, are staked with bamboo poles since they aren’t expected to grow much more than 3′ tall.
And then we have the fancy stuff.
Like the four different varieties of watermelons we are trying to grow on trellising. (Ice Box, Yellow Doll, Tiger Baby and New Orchid) And the cantaloupe and Spaghetti Squash. And the dozen different winter squash from Italy with names none of us can pronounce that we are hoping to train onto netting strung between metal poles.
Some of it sounds crazy, I know. But vertical growing is hard to resist. The kids have 112 square feet in their individual growing boxes. When we add the trellising to the northern sides of the beds, that gives them, more or less, an additional 120 square feet of growing space on the vertical. The peas and the cucumbers will love it, maybe they will take their friends along?
If nothing else, the green beans will grow up the nets we have set out for them. They won’t be easier to pick this way, but we chose mostly drying beans to grow in this section so we don’t have to mess with them alot. And I did slip in some Kentucky Wonder on the end. I am hoping they will be worth the extra trouble to harvest.