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How to Grow Squash Vertically in Different Garden Sizes and Environments, According to Gardening Pros

Learn how a tomato cage can come in handy!

You love enjoying fresh-from-the-garden squash and incorporating vegetables into your meals. While these plants are popular choices for gardeners of all skill levels, many who are just developing their green thumb can quickly be surprised by just how large the greenery gets. The answer: Go vertical! Below, experts share the benefits of growing squash vertically, easy tricks to do so and how to help your plants thrive.

Why vertical train squash?

Squash plants growing up a trellis
BethAmber/Getty

Though these large, sprawling plants aren’t traditionally grown vertically like some garden greenery, it can certainly be accomplished. Plus, there are several benefits to doing so!

“It saves space, creates air flow to help minimize disease and fungus, as well as helps avoid rotting and pest pressure,” shares gardener Bailey Van Tassel, author of Kitchen Garden Living. “Coaxing your squash to ascend up a trellis also creates texture and visual interest in the garden. There are really no downsides to trellising your squash.”

If you’re growing your squash in a smaller space like a raised bed, it also means it won’t overcrowd other plants. Since the leaves will be directed upward, they’ll still get the proper sun they need without blocking any neighboring greenery.

The best squash plants for vertical growing

A tromboncino squash plant
SharonWills/Getty

Though vertical training squash plants is beneficial, the process does lend itself better to certain species of the greenery. “The best squash to train up a support is one that is vining by nature,” explains Van Tassel. “Varieties like butternut squash, tromboncino, or delicata do well since the fruit is produced along the stem, as opposed to all at the base of the plant.”

Many gardeners, however, have managed to find success vertical training even more bush-like plants like zucchini. It just takes the right trick!

Simple ways to vertically grow squash

Depending on the size of your garden and the type of plants you’re growing, there are a few different options that can make vertical training your squash a breeze. Consider trying one of these clever hacks for yourself!

A-Frame

There are plenty of A-frame trellises you can buy to support your growing plants, but it’s also quite easy to make your own. “I am using some garden stakes and a mesh I bought last year,” says TikTok user @mjs.garden in the video below. She starts by forming a teepee shape with the stakes and puts mesh over it like blanket. Then she trains the loofah squash to move around the mesh.

@mjs.garden

DIY Squash Trellis #diy #garden #trellis #gardentok #gardendiy #diyproject

♬ original sound – Marge

Tomato cage

“Tomato cages would be great to create airflow for zucchini and help you keep pests at bay,” says Van Tassel.I find that helping your squash to climb can be a matter of going out and manually pushing the stems through the cage or trellis. You can also loosely use twine to secure the steams and help the plant avoid a bit of gravity.”

See how helpful this is in the video below:

@jessicadebusk1

Growing zucchini vertically with tomato cages #zuchinni #growyourownfood #gardentok #gardening #verticalplanting #gardenhack #tomatocage

♬ original sound – Jessica DeBusk

Cattle panel tunnel

If you’re planning to grow a lot of squash, free up space on the ground or in a bed by forming a tunnel to support your plants. TikTok user @rachelwarren66 shares how she made a trellis for her winter squash.

“This panel is made out of two 16 x 4-foot cattle panels,” she explains in the video below. Learn how she and her husband built this DIY trellis.

@rachelwarren66

Replying to @lupita1984g this is how to make a cattle panel tunnel for winter squash. #squash #trellis #cattlepaneltrellis #gardendiy #garden101 #verticalgardening #squarefootgardening

♬ Chill Vibes – Tollan Kim

Tips for squash-growing success

A woman harvesting a squash
Penpak Ngamsathain/Getty

Though vertically growing squash is an efficient option, you do want to take care when doing so. Van Tassel says it’s important to be careful not to break the stems of the plant as you try to weave them through any sort of structure. This can unnecessarily stress the plant or even shorten its lifespan.

Also smart: “Something that I like to do with most squash, grown vertically or traditionally, is to prune some of their leaves,” she adds. “I find that squash can get a bit overzealous in leaf formation, causing powdery mildew. I like to gently prune anything that looks worrisome, allowing for more airflow to get through.”

Ensuring your squash plants are happy and thriving will help you have a bountiful harvest!


For more gardening tips and tricks, keep reading!

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Grow Your Own Succulent Garden, Plus How To Grow New Succulents From Their Leaves!

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