While many vegetables do just fine with no support at all or simply crawling around in the mud like pumpkins and blue Hubbard squashes, others definitely benefit from trellising. As trellises are easy to build, this is not a problem at all. A simple trellis can be knocked together in 15 minutes or less from a few scraps of lumber and some wire fencing.
In fact, gardens which feature a fence six feet in height or better have a ready large ready-made trellis already in place.
Which vegetables benefit most from trellising?
Beans of course, specifically pole beans of any variety, wax, purple pod, Lima, green, French horticultural or any of the myriad other varieties available. Trellising keeps the beans out of the mire and muck, away from a number of pests and boosts them up into the sunlight where they can thrive. It also makes picking them much easier on the back.
By the way, for an eye opening tour through the wide world of beans visit the Vermont Bean Seed Company web site and be amazed.
As with beans, so it is with peas. Peas are natural climbers and need little encouragement to scramble up the rigging like a sailor up the ratlines of a ship. Some pea varieties are touted as bush peas, requiring no support but even these will benefit from trellising in terms of yield and ease of picking.
Cucumbers are a must for a trellis, and a tall one at that. Some cucumber varieties will climb to second floor windows if support is provided. Trellising produces a better formed longer and more slender cucumber which is uniformly green and again, keeps them out of the muck and away from pests.
Gourds and smaller squashed like acorn and some butternuts benefit from trellising although they will grow satisfactorily on the ground. Avoid trying this with big fellows like blue Hubbards or pumpkins, they will take to the trellis or fence like champs but the squash are too heavy; they will either pull free from their great weight or even damage the fence.
Besides, in black bear country the sight of a pumpkin right up against the fence may prove irresistible and the result will be a flattened fence and a happy, if somewhat fat, bear.
Smart trellising actually increases the total growing area available in the garden as vertical as well as horizontal space is now being utilized.
Be sure to position trellised plants on the north side of the garden, so that they will not shade other, shorter plants and inhibit their growth.
And now you know which veggies to trellis. Pick up some 2” X 3”s, staples, screws and chicken wire and prepare to take your vegetables vertical with a trellis!