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Beginner Vegetables: Best diy trellis for zucchini?

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deva33freya
Burnaby, BC
(Zone 8b)

May 25, 2013
9:04 AM

Post #9533444

I have 3 yellow zucchini plants in 2 hills. I'd like to make a trellis to keep them off the ground. Ideally, it would be made of bamboo, as I have way too much bamboo growing in my yard.

I've made a long A-frame type trellis for my tomatoes, and a teepee shaped trellis for the cucumber. Would either of those work well? Or would something else do better? I was thinking maybe something lower to the ground, so they almost sprawl, but are kept slightly off the ground for air circulation?

I've never grown zucchini, so I don't know enough about how they grow to know what type of support would be the best. Thanks!

Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


May 25, 2013
11:22 AM

Post #9533580

They are bush plants, so difficult to trellis. Most of thier size is in the leaves. Most of fruits set at the base of the plant, Rarely do they set more than a foot from the base of the vine.

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Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 26, 2013
9:17 PM

Post #9535272

Farmerdill is right about Zucchini.
However, other squash, as well as cucumber, melon and other vegetables could benefit from a trellis.

Here are a couple of ideas, modified for DIY with bamboo.

1) Stick a couple of bamboo poles in the ground about 6' apart, on opposite sides of the plants. If you have several plants in a row then 1 pole between each plant.
2) Put horizontal bamboo cross pieces about a foot apart going up the poles. If you leave stubs where you cut off the branches this is very good to support the horizontals. Peas and beans climb vertical sticks, so for these plants, add a lot more verticals to the trellis. You can use the thinnest bamboo for peas and beans, but heavier plants, heavier fruits will need more substantial materials.
3) Tie the plants to the cross pieces. Get them growing upwards.
4) As fruit forms tie it to the trellis, too, if it is heavy like melons or the larger squash. A nylon stocking works well. It will stretch as the fruit grows.

If you want to grow the plants horizontally (sprawl all over the place) but want to protect the fruit (pumpkin, melon...) from soil bugs, then you can build a platform out of bamboo.
1) Stick 4 pieces of bamboo in the soil under each fruit. Make them about 6" off the ground, and about 1' apart for medium sized fruit like Pumpkin for pies, and all melons except the giant water melons and such. For those larger fruits the support would have to be a lot stronger. Squash, melons, pumpkins up to about 10 lbs are OK. One ton prize winning pumpkins will not work. These bamboo pieces should still have stubs on them a few inches long, and right at the top.
2) Add cross pieces, attaching them to the stubs.
3) Lay a board (Plywood, old shelves...) across the cross pieces, or cut a lot of bamboo into short lengths to lay across the cross pieces to make a platform.
4) GENTLY lift the vine with the fruit and drape it across the platform so the fruit is centered on the platform.

You could make a larger form of this, and see if the whole plant can be kept off the ground this way, but by the time you have gone to that much work, I think growing them vertically makes more sense.
deva33freya
Burnaby, BC
(Zone 8b)

May 27, 2013
2:08 PM

Post #9535950

Farmerdill- interesting. Thanks! I knew they were big and leafy, but did not know that fruit is always that close to the bottom. That is useful info!

Diana_K...those are good ideas. The only good thing about bamboo growing in the yard is that I can leave the stubs on, and the stubs can be useful!

I like the idea of letting it sprawl (it is in an area with lots of space), and just doing something simple to keep the fruit off the ground. Is there any reason to keep the leaves off the ground? or is it just the zucchini? I have so much bamboo just lying around that I can afford to experiment. haha!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 28, 2013
2:33 PM

Post #9537373

Zuke is a summer squash most of them are bush type, not vining. Most winter squash are vining,I really don't know how you could trellis it. That's just how it grows, you could put a paper plate under the fruit to keep it off the ground but I can't think of a way or reason to trellis something that doesn't vine.the fruit mature so fast you really wouldn't even have time.
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 28, 2013
9:54 PM

Post #9537888

No reason at all to put any effort into lifting the whole plant off the ground, if you are OK with it sprawling.
However, the fruit of most plants in this family (Cucurbits- Melon, Squash, Cucumber, Pumpkin) can get rotten sitting on wet soil, and soil bugs can eat them, so propping up the fruit is a good investment in time. Simply sitting them on an old board is enough; I was just trying to get creative with the materials on hand (bamboo).
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 31, 2013
9:20 PM

Post #9541517

My summer squash doesn't even touch the ground unless I let it get big. It's usually ready to pick about 4-5 days after pollination. It's amazing how fast it grows. The vining types, from my experience, are much slower and could benefit from trellises.
SwallowFeather
Tiskilwa, IL

June 4, 2013
7:06 PM

Post #9546647

I recall from the other thread we were talking in that you're thinking of not mulching this year--mulch is what I've always used so far to keep my squash from sitting on wet soil, so I'm going to have to think about what to replace it with myself. But in your case, like you said, you have all this bamboo.

I like Diana's ideas, or if you want to spend minimal efforts, why not just lay down several sticks of bamboo in a square around each zucchini plant? With the growth habit of zucchini (where the long squashes each stick out from the central bush) it seems to be this would be sufficient for keeping them from contact with the soil.

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