Best use of 8 ft?

StarterGardener(5a)April 12, 2011

I tend to be overly ambitious and as a beginner was wondering if an experienced gardener could give me some advice.

I built 8 ft of trellis (6 ft high) and would like to grow some combination of sugar snap peas, pole beans, some combination of summer squash, and maybe some winter squash.

Does anyone have recommendations on "shifts"? Like when the peas are done, plant something else? How much do you think I can fit on 8 ft?

Total beginner... first summer having a yard!

Thanks for any help and ideas!

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Dan Staley

Squash has long enough season that you can't rotate peas and squash. With squash you are effectively committed. I go with bush peas for this very reason, and because here they don't perform. We're a squash and melon family so we'd pick them if we had to choose.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 9:01PM
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If you live in the SE it's to late for spring sugar snap peas. It will be to hot before they produce a crop. You have to plant them in late Jan. or early Feb.I would plant pole beans and at the end of the 8 ft trellis put you a zucchini sq. plant on one end and 2 yellow sq plants on the other end. Then this fall plant you some sugar snap peas. With about 8 broccoli plants. That's what I would do now if it was my area.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:30AM
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Most zucchini are bush types these days and won't climb your trellis. Check the seed label. You can trellis melons, but for cantaloupes you have to tie the melons onto the frame with something like pantyhose, or they will fall off and go splat.

Pole beans are an obvious choice. Also cucumbers. And you can grow tomatoes against your trellis with a few ties.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 8:30AM
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potterhead2(z5b NY)

The only part of your list that could be done in "shifts" are the sugar snap peas first, followed by the other vegetables. Peas are a cool weather crop, so it is too late in zone 7 this year. Next year you can get a crop of peas in before the other plants by getting a very early start.

The other crops you mentioned are vegetables that grow for the whole summer season, there are no "shifts" with them.

Summer squash are generally bush plants, not vining plants, and will not climb a trellis (plan on a 4ft ground spread). You could plant them in front of the trellis, with the pole beans climbing the trellis behind them.

An exception I have grown on a trellis is Tromboncino Rampicante. It is actually a winter squash that you pick while still green and immature. Tastes very much like zucchini, is vining, and as a big bonus is not bothered by squash vine borer. It is huge however, and will take up a lot of that trellis.

Any vining winter squash can be grown on a trellis, but be prepared to "tie up" the fruits to the trellis in net bags or panty hose legs so that they don't weigh down and break the vines. These plants are generally huge, you can easily fill your 8ft trellis with a couple of these.

A semi-bush winter squash might be best for you. They can be trained up a trellis, but are a manageable size. Try Cornell Bush Delicata squash or some of the Acorn squashes (Honeybear or Sweet Reba).

If I only had 8ft of growing space and was growing what is on your list, I would put pole beans on half of the trellis, and two semi-bush winter squash on the other half. Then I would put summer squash on the ground in front of the trellis.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 10:21AM
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ltilton please READ what they are wanting to plant. I don't see melons in the list. With 45 years of gardening I don't have to read a seed label to plant anything LOL. I was NOT suggesting they trellis the zucchini.I was suggesting they could utilize there space better planting pole beans on the tressel and as a bonus add the squash at the ends. Then this fall they can plant the sugar snap peas and add the broccoli as a bonus. Or do you think broccoli grows on a trellis? LOL You better read your labels!!! Also I grow 40lb+ watermelons on a wire fence and don't use pantyhose LOL!!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 3:29AM
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daylilyfanatic4(Zone 6 SE NY)

You can still plant a leafy green crop there so you don't waste the space. Harvest it young and then plant tomatoes, cucumbers beans squash or any other summer crop.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 6:38AM
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Dan Staley

For a beginner, starting peas early enough to rotate out then a squash must be done with care. The soil has to be warmed so the seeds germinate, then early on if there is a cold snap below, say 24-25F then they have to be covered to ensure production. My 'Butternut' take about 6-7 feet of trellis, depending upon if I train it or let it go. Training is ~5 ft.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 9:10AM
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