How to Grow Pumpkins in a Vertical Garden
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Vertical gardening is a new gardening trend that’s making waves. Not only does it look beautiful, but it’s also great for the environment. Learning how to grow pumpkins in a vertical garden can be a fun pastime that yields some delicious fresh food!
What is Vertical Gardening?
Vertical gardening uses a vertical structure such as a fence, wall poles and boxes to grow plants
such as fruits and certain vegetables. Growing plants this way has plenty of benefits — low maintenance and more effective use of space. On top of all that, vertical gardens look gorgeous!
Vertical gardens can use soil or a hydroponics system to grow plants. Initially developed for the agricultural sector, hydroponics has proven to be an effective alternative to conventional gardening methods. Rather than using soil, the roots of the plants are submerged within a water and nutrient solution that travels through the pipes.
Using a hydroponic system to maintain your vertical garden gives you more control over water usage because the system recycles unused water. It also allows plants to grow healthier than conventional gardening methods because water and nutrients are fed directly into the plant’s roots.
How to Build Your Vertical Garden
Before you learn how to grow pumpkins in a vertical garden, you must know how to set one up. The great thing about vertical gardening is that you can use almost anything to make it. From wooden shelves to shoeboxes and empty bottles, the possibilities are endless.
Vertical gardens are generally organized in two ways — wall gardens and layered gardens. Wall gardens are built straight up, with plants arranged in columns to form a wall. Layered gardens are organized diagonally to each other, like stairs. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, depending on the space you are using and what kind of plants you are growing.
Creating a vertical garden also allows you to use any space as long as you can fit your holders. This means that you can use rooftops, patios and even your garage. Plants in vertical gardens are also much easier to maintain — no more having to kneel in soil for hours. Using indoor spaces for your garden can also give you more control over external factors like weather.
Growing Pumpkins in a Vertical Garden
Pumpkins are best known for being fall decorations — particularly during Halloween. What most people don’t realize is that they are also highly versatile. Pumpkins grow on vines that creep up along surfaces such as other plants, walls and pipes. This makes them perfect for growing in vertical gardens.
Types of Trellises
To grow pumpkins in a vertical garden, you need something for the pumpkin vines to attach themselves to. Use a trellis made of a free-standing structure and train the vines to grow along it. A vertical trellis has a rectangular frame and a base to keep it standing. An A-frame trellis has two frames that connect to form the shape of the letter A.
Vertical trellises can be placed against walls or other structures, while A-frame trellises are more stable and can stand better on their own. Whichever you choose to use depends on your plans for your vertical garden.
A vertical trellis will work just fine if you are growing smaller pumpkins. Larger species, however, will need the additional support A-frame trellises can provide. You will also need a catching net directly below the vine to catch the pumpkins falling off.
Planting Your Pumpkins
Once you set up your trellises, it’s time to plant your pumpkins. It can be tricky if you’ve never worked with vines before, but it will make sense once you get the hang of it.
First, plant your pumpkins at the base of the trellis. Once they start growing, you must make sure they climb up the trellis properly. Normally, vines naturally know what to do. However, sometimes you’ll have to train vines to climb on the trellis. Carefully monitor the vines’ growth — weaving loose areas into openings or supporting them with ties and plant clips.
Don’t try to force vines to grow in a certain way. Vines are fragile and can break easily and trying to force them might do irreparable damage. This also applies if some parts of the vine get tangled. Usually, just letting them grow is safer than trying to untangle them. If you’re using ties to hold vines in place, make sure they are not too tight. Vines need to be a little loose to move.
Harvesting Your Pumpkins
The time to harvest pumpkins all depends on the species you’ve decided to plant. Usually, pumpkins are ready to harvest 90-120 days after planting. If your pumpkin vines start dying during this period — that means you are close to harvest time.
Another good indicator of when your pumpkin is ready is the stems and the rind. Pumpkins are ready to harvest once the stem becomes hard and brown. In addition, testing the hardness of the rind with your finger is also a great way to tell.
The act of harvesting your pumpkins can be very satisfying. If possible, pick a day that’s nice and sunny, as well as a dry area to store them. This can prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the rind. Take a large knife or gardening shears and cut them from the vine at the top of the stem.
To cure your pumpkin, it is essential to make sure there’s no moisture on the surface. Wipe down the rind with a towel and leave them to dry in a spot with plenty of sun. It takes about seven to 14 days for the skin of the rind to harden. Cured pumpkins can last far longer than those that have fallen fresh from the vine.
Use Vertical Gardens to Grow Pumpkins and Other Fruits
While they might take some time to set up properly, a vertical garden can be a fun and economical way to grow plants while finding a use for empty spaces in your home. Learning how to grow pumpkins in a vertical garden can be a great first experience that can lead to growing other fruits and vegetables.
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About the author
Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of Environment.co. A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.