Cucumbers, spaghetti squash, and beans are very popular vegetable plants to grow in the garden. These plants are very productive and easy to grow. They are also usually vining plants.
Vining plants will put off runners that will attach to and grow up surfaces or other plants. If you have space in the garden for these to run along the ground, they will. They will create trailing vines that can take up a large amount of garden floor space.
You can use this vining and climbing ability in your favor. Since vining plants will readily climb up structures, you can give them supports to free up garden space.
Rather than the long, trailing vines growing along the ground, you can have them grow up a trellis or some sort of support. Growing these plants vertically does not reduce the yield of the plant. Instead, it’s actually beneficial for vining plants to grow vertically up a support rather than horizontally along the ground.
Benefits of Supporting Vining Plants
You can grow any plant without support, even a vining plant. However, not providing support for vining plants to grow up usually results in plants that are more prone to disease, pests and have reduced yields.
Vining plants create a vine for a reason. They don’t ‘bush’ out. Instead, these plants are designed to grow up another plant or structure. They are designed to have long stems with scattered leaves, fruits and blooms, stretched along the length of the stem. They take up more surface area than many plants that form a bush shape.
When vining plants grow along the ground, they struggle to get the airflow that they would normally get if they were growing vertically. Airflow around a plant is critical for overall health. Airflow helps to prevent the leaves from staying too moist.
Moist leaves and stems are a breeding ground for fungal and bacterial disease. When vining plants grow along the ground, they do not get airflow. There’s not much wind at the ground level. Propping a plant up even a couple of feet makes it much easier to get air movement around the leaves and stems.
The air is also slightly warmer at the surface level. If you plant is growing on the ground and have moist leaves, you’ll likely run into issues with diseases like black spot or powdery mildew.
Another benefit of supporting vining plants is that you will free up precious garden space. As much as all of us would love to have massive gardens, that’s usually not realistic. If you’re limited to how much garden space you have, then you’ll want to make the most use out of your space. Vining plants can create vines that are 5,10 even 20 feet long. Rather than wasting all of that growing space on the ground, prop these plants up and free up that precious garden space.
Another benefit of growing vining plants off of the ground is the reduced pest problem. Now, growing vining plants on supports isn’t going to eliminate your pest problem. However, it can help. Many pests that affect garden plants will complete a life cycle right there under the plant.
The adult pest will live on the vine, then lay eggs, which hatch and start the lifecycle again. For pests that lay eggs on the surface of the soil, they lay the eggs under the plant. When you prop the plant up, you’re creating a smaller surface area for the adults to lay their eggs. This makes it much easier to manage pests.
Vining plants that are grown up some type of support will also be easier to harvest. You won’t have to shuffle around on the ground, lifting leaves in search of beans or cucumbers. Instead, you can harvest them standing up. This also means that your produce will be cleaner.
When cucumbers, beans and the vegetables from other vining plants grow directly on the ground, they’re usually dirty when you pick them. They can also develop soft spots that you likely won’t see when the vegetables are grown on a support.
They will produce when growing along the ground, but they will produce much higher yields if they are supported properly.
Park’s Wire Cucumber Support is ideal for supporting your cucumber plants. Cucumbers can be hard to support, especially when they are loaded with cucumbers. This steel support system has springs that keep the support open wide, all season long. Simply adjust the support to the width you want and let it do the work.
This support system is designed to keep your cucumbers growing up, no matter how heavy they get. Each support can hold two cucumber plants per side with plenty of room for them to grow.
Pole beans are very prolific and many gardeners swear that pole beans are more productive than bush beans. The only problem is that pole beans create runners that take off. If your pole beans aren’t supported and given a place to grow up, they can overtake your garden.
Pole beans and other twining plants grow really well on a support that they can entangle themselves in as they grow up. The pole bean growing tower is essentially the tomato cage for pole beans. Simply sink the stake at the bottom of the tower into the ground.
The included cotton cord can be zigzagged from the top to the bottom loops. This creates plenty of growing space for up to twelve plants around each tower. This Pole Bean Growing Tower can also be used for creating large showy towers of blooms if you’re a flower gardener. Plant the vining flowers around the base of the tower and let them grow up the strings.
At the end of the season, snip the string and toss it into your compost pile. It’s biodegradable.
Sometimes you have one or two vining plants to support in the garden. When you only have a couple of vining plants to support, you can get cages or towers to support them. But what if you have rows and rows of vining plants growing in the garden?
The best method to support a large variety of vining plants is with a Park’s Trellis Netting. Simply put stakes in the ground at the ends of your rows and every several feet in between.
Then, connect this sturdy trellis netting to the support poles. This sturdy nylon netting will hold up any vining plant from pole beans to cucumbers to even vining tomato plants.
This nylon netting is easy to roll up and reuse year after year. It’s a much more economical way to get your vegetables up off of the ground!
This post was written by Shelby DeVore, the founder of Farminence. Shelby is a passionate gardener with 20+ years of experience gardening and growing food at home. She currently lives in West Tennessee on a 14-acre homestead with her husband, three children and too many animals to list.