raised bed full of squash, pumpkin, green beans and cucumbers

jen1996July 21, 2012

Hi all. I am a beginner gardener. My very first garden was a success but I credit the excellent soil and growing conditions.

We moved from that location nine years ago. When we purchased our house the previous homeowners said they had gardened here but not very successfully. I have not had good luck either. The soil is awful. Each year I would bring in more soul and mix with what we have.

well this year I decided to do raised beds using the lasagne method and things are going well. Everything is thriving. I am very excited.

The problem I am having is I am not exactly sure what to do re a few things.

in one 4x8 bed I have two yellow squash plants two spaghetti

Squash, a few pumpikns a row of pole beans and one cucumber. When I went out to weed a little yesterday I realized these healthy

strong plants were all grabbing on to one another. I have poles for the beans and most are going upward but some are not. The one cucumber is going in several directions. I was hoping all of the vines from these crawlers would just grow nicely out of the bed and onto the lawn.I read I can use a trellis for the cucumbers but am wondering if it is too late. The plant is several feet in several different directions.

I am also wondering if when the plants grab onto eachother the best way to separate. Is it ok to break the little shoots that wrap around the other plant?

Thanks

Jen

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ju1234((8 Dallas TX))

I am in the same situation. Lot of work goes into building the raised garden. Small area. Tendency is to make the best of it. So we plant to many things in that small area. I did the same thing.

No it is not too late to put cucs up the trellies. Put the poles up and wrap the current vines on the strings. They will soon grab onto them. Some vines may get damaged in the process. Not a big deal. In fact I discovered something. The fruit grows on the upper newer branches anyway. So I would trim the bottom branches near the main trunk so there will be more space for the bush plants.

Now to make trellies, I saw something anotehr gardner was using. Fishing line. I bought the monofilament heavy fishing line, $1 for a roll. Two upright poles, a heavy wire across the two, one a bottom one at top. Went up and down with the fishing line across the two wires. This is strong wnough to take the weight and won't break.

If you have space behind the bed, you can even offset the trellis behind it by a foot or so, so the climbers will be out of your bed. The bushes will be well in front getting all the sun.

You will have to wrap those new branches up the lines everyday when you see them coming. somwtimes i see a branch already grabbing my tomato plant or somethingwith the tendrils. I just pull it off and wrap it up the line. So it is a saily process.

Another advantage of the fishing line is when it time to get rid of the vines, you just cut the lines above and below, and everything is off. It is much more work to remove them from fences or other permanent types.

I also let my zucchinis grow in front out of the bed. The only problem, the main trunk bent up and down a few times making it difficult to harvest the fruit. Same thing with zucchini, prune the bottom leaves opening up the area more.

For next year I am planning something different. I am going to plant only the climbers in the raised beds. For the bush crops, that need 4-6 feet distance between them, I am preparing 1' diameter, 2' deep holes rather than prepare the whole ground. I will put the bush plants in those holes giving me plenty of space between plants and much less work. Just thought of another idea. If you want to make just raised "holes", buy those large tubs from walmart for $5 a piece. They are like 2' diameter and 2-2.5 feet deep. Cut the bottom off. Set it on the ground and fill it with soil.

I am hoping that some tree removal company will give me free mulch, a truck or two to make some raised beds. So look for them in your area and ask if you can get some.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 9:49AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

You're on the right track but probably trying to put too many plants into one bed. Raised beds do allow you to plant more densely, assuming your soil has enough nutrients to support them, but even that has its limits. When you are planting, read the seed packet. If it says to plant 8 to 12 inches apart, plant them 8 inches (in other words, the minimum spacing given) and give them 8 inches all the way around them. Use a ruler if you need to.

As far as your cucumbers, yes, they will climb a trellis. If you want to get them up now even though they are large, you will probably need to tie them on. You can usually find in stores a green plastic tape designed specifically for this purpose. Its advantage is it stretches so you don't girdle your plants. Its disadvantage is it is not organic so you will have to remove each one if you want to put the spent plants into your compost pile. Organic twine works well too and will decompose, but it won't stretch and you'll need to tie the vines fairly tightly at this point. Once they are up, the new growth will grab on with tendrils to hold it on the trellis.

In my four x 8 beds I would typically plant two hills of squash or cucumbers with two plants to a hill. It is worth noting that there are varieties that don't make such long vines. Picklebush and Spacemaster cucumbers are two I have tried. With a bit of help, they stay neatly in the confines of the beds and make lots of tasty cucs. There are also squash with shorter vines. This year I am trying Black Futsu which is a winter squash with shorter vines. Mine are 3 to 4 feet long and are staying in the bed with a little help from me.

Assuming you are planting bush beans, plant them at the minimum spacing given on their seat packet in all directions. You'll be amazed at how many beans you will get from a 4 x 4 block of plants. I have found that it is easier to plant a bed with the same plants so that they are done at the same time, making succession planting easier. But, sometimes I plant half the bed in one thing and half in another if they have about the same time requirements.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 10:11AM
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jen1996

Thanks for your replies.
I made and put a trellis in. I tied the cucumber plants to the trellis. It does not look to happy that I disturbed it. It looks somewhat witypical. Is this typical?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:27PM
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emgardener

All the 'soul' you have put in the garden seems to have worked!

I've noticed that cukes do look upset after being moved around on a trellis, but after a few days they get over it and look fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Low Cost Vegetable Garden

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:46PM
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lizbeth_pa

I have 2 raised gardens and have my cukes on a trellis, which they seem to like pretty well Some are still crawling all over the ground, however. I had to fence in my 2 raised gardens due to rabbits. Some of my pumpkin vines and I also am growing some fun gourds, took to the fence and are naturally growing all over the fencing! Tomatoes I just tie up to a big pole. I don't have beans but i wished I had planted pole beans. Maybe next yr! I grew 2 zucchini squash plants and the got a little out of control. I needed to cut them back and was going to cage them at first w/ something and wished I had. Next yr I will just grow the zukes in a diff spot! I'm experimenting this season w/ a lot of things. Last yr was a bad growing yr for us in PA w/ all the rain and floodings. This yr has been excellent except for the several wks of extreme heat at the end of June and for most of July til now and the little rain during that time frame. Now we're getting a lot of good rains again. Thank goodness! But I will try to grow more stuff on trellises and fencing!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:53AM
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