10 Vegetables that Love to Climb

Gardening vertically is one of my favorite ways to garden. Looking around my garden, you will see a lot of different ways that I garden vertically. One of the biggest advantages of vertical gardening is all the space it saves. Vertical gardening also helps avoid pests and diseases. It makes harvesting easier and adds beauty to your garden. But which vegetables are best when grown vertically.

Peas are an easy choice for gardening vertically. They love climbing. You often run out of room, no matter which trellis you use for peas. One thing I love about growing peas vertically is they climb themselves. The tendrils on those peas seek out the trellis and they happily climb.

Another favorite for vertical gardening is tomatoes. Of course, we know that tomatoes are happiest when they are given some support and you let them climb especially indeterminate tomatoes. Indeterminate tomatoes can get very large ten feet or more. Growing tomatoes vertically, keeps the plant upright and prevents the stems from breaking from heavy fruit or wind. Trellising tomatoes also keeps the leaves up off the ground, and that reduces soil borne diseases. The fruit is easier to harvest when it’s off the ground.

Another favorite for gardening vertically is Luffa. If you’ve ever grown Luffa, you know that it needs a large trellis and it will overtake whatever room it has. Growing luffa vertically keeps the fruit up off the ground and encourages the luffas to grow long and straight, and Luffa will find that trellis and climb up all on its own.

Another favorite for me is melon. I love growing melons vertically. When I grow melons on the ground, they are definitely more susceptible to pests and diseases, so depending on the type of melon that you’re growing, you may need to provide some support. I usually don’t support my cantaloupes. That vine will support itself until it’s ready to harvest. Pay attention when it gets close to harvest time because it will slip from that vine. Larger melons like watermelons will definitely need support from the very beginning as they are grown vertically. Climbing melons often need our help wrapping those vines in and around the trellis.

Another one of my favorites to grow vertically are tomatillos and ground cherries. I’m putting these two together because their growth habit is the same. If you leave these two alone, they will just sprawl and take up lots of room, and because those branches are so brittle, they will often break. But when you give them some support and allow them to climb vertically, it keeps the fruit up and away from pests. Tomatillos and ground cherries definitely need our help climbing that trellis. I use the same clips I use on my tomatoes to attach the branches to the trellis. Tomatillos are easier to harvest because you can see where the fruit is, and ground cherries drop easily to the ground so you know when they’re ready to harvest.

Another favorite for gardening vertically are beans so not necessarily bush beans but pole beans and asparagus or yard lung beans are happiest when you give them something to climb. They climb easily up a trellis and can reach six feet or more. Growing them on a trellis keeps pests like potato bugs from enjoying the fruits of your labor. Growing beans vertically also makes harvesting way easier because those beans hang down and they’re really easy to harvest.

Another favorite is Malabar spinach. Those vines can reach ten to 20 feet or longer. The vines grow best on a sturdy trellis and once those vines find the trellis they will climb it all on its own.

Another crop that I can’t imagine growing any other way are cucumbers. Cucumbers, including Armenian cucumbers, grow happily on a trellis. Cucumbers grown vertically are healthier, straighter, and easier to harvest. Guide the cucumber vines through the trellis when it begins to grow. Often those tendrils will continue to climb, but I usually have to give cucumbers a little bit of help climbing up that trellis. Trellising the plants also gives other crops room to grow as cucumber vines can quickly overtake a raised bed.

Another favorite is cucummelons. If you don’t grow this vertically, it quickly becomes a mass of vines and small leaves and fruit that’s really easy to get lost in. But when you give it something to climb, those vines find the trellis, climb up and then it’s easy to see and harvest all those cucumellons.

Another vegetable I can’t imagine growing any other way is winter squash. Most winter squash varieties take over a garden. Growing them vertically, gets them up off the ground and gives them support and room to grow. When you’re growing winter squash on a trellis make sure it is a large trellis and you have plenty of room and you’re probably going to want to help those vines weave in and out of the trellis. Depending on the variety you’re growing, you may need to provide support for that growing squash. Some of the larger types like pumpkins, definitely need some support if you’re going to grow them vertically.

Those are my top choices for crops that I love to grow vertically. Let me know in the comments what your favorites are. Thank you so much for reading.


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