Saturday, June 23, 2012

Go Vertical

In a small space, the best use of the land can often be to grow vertically. Some crops are obvious choices - beans will grow up just about anything if they get a chance - but many can be trained to grow up rather than out, with a minimum of work.

Growing up is especially easy for us, because we have had a structure of posts - and wires strung between them - since last year. Specifically erected to hold shade cloth, a pleasant surprise is how versatile you can be with dropping some string down from the grid above, just about anywhere.

Keeping in mind that vertical growth will cause shade, you will want to plan to take advantage of that. I have been thinking that if I had put in something - sunflowers perhaps? - on the extreme Western edge of the backyard, the squashes that are growing there would be a little more shaded. Why is it always hard to remember that, yes, it's going to get really, really hot?

The beans against the east wall of the back square, for instance, are only hanging on through sheer determination. That wall is a killer for absorbing the heat. I had thought the beans would shade the wall, but rather, it's taking them out.  Next year . . . melons? that have been in for longer?  Maybe they could get up and shade the wall before the extreme heat.

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