Growing winter squash and pumpkins vertically can save garden space and help to fight pests. To grow squash vertically, here a few simple tips to follow:
- Choosing the correct seed is the best place to begin. To grow squash Vertically choose squash that has a vining habit (sometimes called trailing) and produce small fruit; two pounds or less is recommended. Growing squash that can grow to a hundred pounds or more would be hard to accommodate when building the structure to be climbed and would break from the vines before mature.
- Site and climbing structure should be properly prepared. The climbing structure should be strong enough to withstand strong winds and the weight of the squash as they reach maturity.
- The soil needs to be well worked and mounded to allow soil based watering methods, such as trench or soaker hose and provides adequate drainage.
- The grooming method needs to be adapted to encourage the growth of several small fruits. Many gardeners recommend removing fruit and leaving only one or two on each vine; thus, encouraging a few large fruits. When growing vertically we want to encourage the growth of numerous small fruit, which will be less likely to tear the vines down or fall off the vine.
- As squash grow larger and providing additional support for the fruit may be desirable to prevent the fruit from tearing themselves from the vine before mature or falling to earth and breaking or being bruised.
- With some early maturing varieties picking of fruit may be necessary as the fruit becomes fully mature to reduce weight in the vine and to encourage the vine to produce more fruit. Care should be taken to ensure the fruit is fully mature.