Like most cucurbits, organic zucchini and squash vines can be trained to grow vertically instead of along the ground.
Growing these wandering vines vertically will help to save space in my patch, but the main reason I’m training my zucchinis up off the ground is to avoid rot.
The last two springs in my garden in northern NSW have been very wet, and I’ve lost most of my zucchini vines to rot. Their hollow stems are quite delicate and they don’t stand a chance when resting on wet ground. So this spring, I hope to put an end to that.
Icould simply train them up a fence or trelli, but I have just harvested a lot of beautiful long weaver’s bamboo from my handy backyard clump and I’ve put it to good use.
I’ve planted 3 seedlings in a row, about 75cm apart and plunged four vertical poles around each one, forming a columnar frame. I’ve connected the individual frames with longer poles bound with twine to give the structures added strength. It’s probably overkill… but hey, I love making this kind of stuff in the garden.
As the vines grow, I’ll tie them loosely to the support structure, and as they climb, it will be easier to get in and remove diseased foliage, pollinate flowers and harvest fruit. When the wind gets up, I’ll throw a sheet over the frame so the delicate plants don’t get knocked about.
I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes. Watch this space!
First published: September 2011