Reginald is a retired educator with a passion for gardening. For the past 30 years, he has proven techniques and loves sharing with others.
Growing vegetables vertically is not a new practice but for those who have never tried it the time is now. What a great vegetable to learn this concept but with squash. This article will explain How To Grow Squash Vertically: Step By Step Guide. Read further and you will learn how to grow squash. By the end of this article, you will understand the correct process to grow your squash vertically. Apply these tips to growing other vegetables vertically.
Why Grow Squash Vertically?
As you dive into this technique of gardening remember a few reasons why we should grow our squash plants vertically.
- Space saver! Horizontal growing of the squash plant takes up valuable square footage that could be given to other vegetables. Vertical growing greatly increases your growing area.
- Vertical growing gets the squash off the ground where mold and disease lurks.
- The plants get better air circulation on a vertical surface.
- The vines of the squash plant are reaching for the sun. You are helping this happen.
- Gives you a good look at the fruit as is developing.
- Your garden becomes more organized and admired by friends and relatives.
Types and Varieties of Squash
This article is about how to grow squash vertically. But not all squash plants can be grown this way. There are two basic types of squash. They are Summer Squash and Winter Squash. The big difference between these two is how long they take to grow and harvest. Summer squash grows quickly (60 days) while winter squash takes 60 -110 days.
For both summer and winter squash, there are both vining and bush squash plants. Any variety of vining squash will grow vertically. Bush types do not. For the purpose of this article, we will explore the vining squash types.
Below is a list of a few varieties of squash you may be familiar with from your supermarket. My recommendation is to pick one type of summer and one winter to grow your first time out. Measure your success and branch out from there.
Four Summer Squash Varieties
- Yellow Straightneck
- Striped Zucchini
Four Winter Squash Varieties
How To Grow Squash
Growing squash is not difficult if you follow a systematic plan. Some people think that just plant the seeds and let nature do its thing. Following this way of thing will yield you a very little harvest. Any gardening project needs planning, execution, and evaluation. Below are steps to ensure that you will grow healthy vining squash in your garden. These steps outline the essential requirements in gardening: sunlight, soil, water, and fertilizer.
Step One: Where to Put My Roots
Picking the right location for your squash plants to grow is crucial. Squash requires at least 6 hours of full sunlight. Growing squash vertically gives you a great start for your plants to reach for the sky.
Don’t plant around trees that might give shade to your plants. Be far enough away from the house that blocks the sun. You need that late morning and afternoon sun.
Step Two: Soil Conditions
Soil conditions for growing squash plants is not very complicated. Summer and winter squash grow best in fertile, well-drained soil. I grow my squash in raised beds or large buckets. Therefore I have a formula for my soil mix.
Mixing regular garden soil with an even amount of compost, peat moss and manure will get you started on the right foot. Frequently adding rich compost will enhance the fertile conditions that you need to grow squash. Read the article on Best Soil for Raised Beds.
Step Three: Seeds or Young Plants
Squash plants grow rather quickly. I like to plant the seeds directly in the ground rather than purchasing young plants. One of the reasons for this is that young plants for squash are very delicate and don’t take transplanting very well. Try this idea:
- Plant your seeds 1 inch deep. Two seeds per hole. Each hole should be 2 feet apart.
- Take a 12-ounce soda or water bottle and cut it in half. Placed 1/2 of the soda bottle over where the seeds were planted. This gives you a mini greenhouse for the seeds. Repeat this method for each planting of squash seeds.
- When the plants have reached a good size you can remove the bottle.
- You should have two plants under each bottle. With a pair of scissors cut the weakest of the two seedlings. Cutting the weak plant will not disturb the other seedling.
Another article worth reading is Best Vegetables To Grow in Raised Beds.
Step Four: Build It And They Will Climb On It!
There are many types of support systems for growing vegetables vertically. Thinking ahead as to how to grow squash vertically you must visualize what these plants will look like down the road.
- A-frame Trellis
- Bamboo teepees
- Wire mesh Trellis
- Wire, twine
Squash plants need a heavy-duty support system whether it’s summer or winter varieties. I prefer a cattle panel type because of its sturdy construction. The cattle panel can be used inside or outside a raised bed. No fear of it toppling over in a high wind.
I built two wooden trellis frames for my squash plants this year. I will train them to climb up to where I will have a great view of the fruit as they grow. Next year I will rotate my crops and plant cucumbers or beans.
Bamboo teepees and twine trellis might be too weak for the squash plants.
Read a great article on Planning a Great Garden For The First Time.
Types of Trellises
Vining squash plants need to be grown on a large surface strong enough to carry their weight. Below are different types of trellises used in gardens.
- Bamboo teepees – classic type trellis. Easy to build and ideal for growing certain vegetables vertically. Tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, and peas. Not a good support system for squash plants.
- A-frame trellises – a system that is joined together at the top to form an A-shape. A-frame trellises can be made from wood or metal. These are very durable for growing beans, peas, gourds, melons, squash, and cucumbers.
- Arbors and arches – a bit more complicated but work extremely well for flowering vines, cucumber, peas, beans, and squash. For the woodworker try making your own squash arch.
- Wire mesh trellises – a simple type of trellis made with wire mesh panels. If built for the strength it will support heavy crops like squash. I use heavy metal or wooden stakes 4 feet apart and string heavy-duty wire for the squash to climb.
- Posts and netting or twine – the same concept as above but using twine or netting. These are great for peas, beans, cucumbers but not squash plants.
Step Five: Drink and Be Merry ( Not You - The Squash!)
Growing vegetables in your garden is not a hobby that you can walk away from. It takes careful planning and scheduling of daily chores. One of the most important daily chores is watering. Your squash plants are thirsty little buggers so make sure that they have their water.
Make sure that if you are growing in raised beds that you water every day. Observe how your plants are growing. If you do not water enough the plants will stop growing.
A good method for watering your garden is the use of a drip hose system. This type of watering is not expensive and very easy to install. The hose is simply placed in weaved pattern in my raised beds before my plants are put in. I secure the hose with cut metal coat hangers from the closet.
The next step is to connect the end of the soaker hose to a solid hose that connects to the timer. The timer is then connected to the water line on the side of the house. I use the hose with the timer below. It saves me time and I never have to worry that my plants don't get watered.
Step Six: Don't Forget to Fertilize
- Plant summer squash when all chances of frost have passed; winter squash can be planted in mid-summer.
- Give squash plants room to sprawl by planting them 3 to 6 feet apart. Grow them in an area that gets 6 or more hours of sun and has rich, well-drained soil.
- Give your native soil a nutrient boost by mixing in several inches aged compost or other rich organic matter.
- Squash rely on consistent moisture but avoid wetting the leaves; 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly is best.
- Make the most of your food growing efforts by keeping plants fed with a continuous-release plant food.
- Feel free to harvest baby summer squash once they’re large enough to eat, or wait until they reach full size (usually 6 to 8 inches long).
.Gardening is a great deal of fun and very rewarding. This article on How to Grow Squash Vertically: Step by Step Guide outlines six steps to help you grow some great squash plants. It also serves to help utilize a smaller garden space by growing up, up, and away!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Reginald Thomas
Reginald on July 02, 2021:
Thank you Audrey
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 02, 2021:
Just what I need! I eat squash daily and want to grow my own. Thanks for this easy guide!