Help me grow up not out
January 25, 2012 7:03 PM   Subscribe

Garden filter: Favorite fruits and veggies to grow in zone 5 (Denver) and best vertical trellising options you've come across.

So last year I did hot peppers, mild peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, sweet corn, strawberries, spinach and a few others I can't remember off hand. All grew really well but I'm looking for more options. Suggestions or specific varieties of veggies you like more than others? I have a 21x24' space so quite a bit of room but I saw a few vertical trellising options I really liked, like taking two 2x4's or 4x4's and running stringers in between. Help make the picking easier and make more room for sprawling veggies like cucumbers and squash. What are you favorite trellising options?
posted by no bueno to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: nothing? no one?
posted by no bueno at 7:45 PM on January 25, 2012

I'm zone 5b in Indiana. I've had good luck with kabocha and daikon (early spring for daikon).
posted by bolognius maximus at 8:05 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Peas! Fresh peas are so SO different from what you can buy in any store. I grew a dwarf variety so I just put down a few bamboo stakes for them to grab onto. Can't remember the name of the peas unfortunately.
posted by emeiji at 10:18 PM on January 25, 2012

Last year, I got all my seed from Territorial, so that's what I'll tell you about. (And I'm not a shill for them, just a fan.) I'm in Oklahoma, so same zone, drier conditions.

I trellised (on a wire cattle panel) Sugar Sprint peas, Rocky cucumber, and Malibu green beans. They were all delicious, and pretty good producers. I'll plant the peas and cucumbers again this year, but I'm going to try Kentucky Blue green beans instead of Malibu. (No complaint against Malibu, just want to try something different.)

I'm also going to try the Patio Star squash, as my squash plants last year were a jungle, and this one's supposed to be half-size.

What do you do with your tomatoes? Heirlooms are the best for flavor, roma types are best for salsa and sauces, and just about any hybrid (non-roma) make good juices. I'm going to try Grandma's Pick - a hybrid that supposedly tastes like an heirloom - this year. There's also a cherry tomato bred specifically for drying, if you like sun-dried tomatoes.

If you don't mind trading size for flavor, you might give Alpine strawberries (like these from Annie's Heirloom Seeds) a try. I planted Italian Alpine last year, and this year I'm going to add Alexandria Alpine, and Mignonette Alpine.

If you want to talk about my garden experiences some more, I'd be glad to. MeMail me anytime.
posted by ThisKindNepenthe at 11:33 PM on January 25, 2012

I have existing fence posts that I can hang my trellis on, but I find single-wire strings to be annoying and droopy, and I have trouble keeping horizontal separation between two shoots of one plant, the ties just slide along a horizontal wire. I bought wire fencing from Lowe's and tall posts for the area that didn't have fence posts. Larger holes in the trellis would be ideal - 6"x6" would be big enough to reach through, pick a tomato, and pull my hand back through, and 4x4 would be a good start, but 2"x4" is much easier to find at a reasonable price. My best trellis advice is, don't underestimate how high things are going to grow - hang the 5' fence so it reaches at least 6.5 feet, the 1.5 foot gap just above the ground isn't important, the plants don't need support until they're taller than that, but tomatoes get really tall, you need at least 6' height. Thus, if you went for plastic rather than wire mesh, you'd need a lot of posts to hold it up.

Tomatoes, zucchini or yellow summer squash, peas, cucumbers, and melons have all done well trellised for me. I have not yet found a winter squash variety that takes to the fence well and also tastes good, or I'd recommend it.
Zone 5 is a bit too cool for most "normal" melons (watermelon, canteloupe), but I've enjoyed growing small asian melons, with the bonus that they trellis well. Korean yellow melon
posted by aimedwander at 9:42 AM on January 26, 2012

aimedwander writes "Larger holes in the trellis would be ideal - 6'x6' would be big enough to reach through, pick a tomato, and pull my hand back through, and 4x4 would be a good start, but 2'x4' is much easier to find at a reasonable price. "

A 6x6 mesh is easy to find as it is a common reinforcement wire for concrete. You can get it in 4x8 panels or in rolls in a few different widths. However it isn't galvanized so it'll be rusty.
posted by Mitheral at 8:03 PM on January 26, 2012

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