If you're short on space in your garden or want to plant more than you really have room for, go vertical! You can save space and energy by trellising, fencing, or caging certain vegetables. Climbing vegetables, such as peas and pole
beans, need fences or poles to grow on. These devices save space; also, these crops produce best when they're allowed to climb. Set up a teepee of 6- to 8-foot poles, attach chicken wire to fence posts, or train the plants on an A-frame. (If you use the teepee method, wind some twine around the poles at 6-inch intervals to give the vines something to cling to or wind around.)
Cucumbers, melons, and even some squash love to vine and ramble. You can direct their energy by growing them on a trellis. Place the trellis on an angle, such as an A-frame design (shown in Figure 13-1), instead of straight up and down.
If you're growing vines with heavy fruits, such as melons or squash, make sure that the trellis is very sturdy.
Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants all can be caged or staked with a pole to keep them growing upright, elevate their fruits off the ground (which can help prevent disease and damage from slugs, mice, and other ground-dwelling critters), and give you more produce in less space. Commercial growers tie wire or twine between fence posts and weave the growing tomato plants through it. Also, 4- to 5-foot-high wire cages made of hog fencing or concrete reinforcing wire work well. Secure the cages with a tall stake pounded into the ground to prevent them from blowing over.
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