Is your backyard tight on garden space and a bit too sunny? Try this incredibly clever and simply gorgeous solution: Build an arbor or trellis for your vine crops, and let them provide you with shade as they spread across the frame, producing flowers, grapes, cucumbers, melons, squash and gourds that hang overhead — to stunning effect.
Trellising vine vegetables isn’t just a good use of space; it also helps your vines grow more evenly-colored and well-shaped produce. And the artistic effect can’t be beat. This is best for vines that grow smaller fruits, like cucumbers, grapes and summer squash. If you’re growing heavy fruits like melons, you might need to give the biggest ones some extra support so they don’t break from their vine.
If you just like the visual effect but don’t want to worry about vegetables crashing from the sky, go with gourd vines. They climb easily and last longer on the vine, so your enchanted garden can grow into the fall.
Plan your arbor to be at least three or four feet wide, and six to seven feet tall. Use strong wood or metal supports for the sides, with lattice or cross pieces that the vines can climb. The top can be arched, flat or angled as you like; just make sure it’s strong enough to bear the weight of the vines.
Plant your vine crops along the outer sides of the arbor, following the instructions on the seed packet. Many food crops will need to be trained up the arbor, particularly when they’re young. Gourds need almost no training.