How to make use of a cucumber trellis for growing cucumbers?
The traditional way of growing cucumbers was to allow the plant to travel along the ground in a haphazard manner. But by using plant training methods in combination with a cucumber trellis, much more production can be achieved.
Basics of Cucumber Trellis
A trellis can be made in many shapes and of several materials. The purpose of the trellis is to train the cucumber plant to grow up through the holes and specifically to lift the plant off the ground. It usually is shaped like a net and can be made of metal or polypropylene line. A metal grid work is often self-supporting, while the polypropylene net requires plant stakes to hold everything off the ground. The polypropylene netting is usually hung vertically for cucumbers.
Sometimes gardeners use cages of metal work around each plant as a means of support as well.
With a crop net trellis, the cucumber plants can be planted in a row close to the vertically hanging net. As the plants mature they reach up with their tendrils and twist around the line, thus pulling the plant up off the ground.
What is an Espalier Trellis?
An espalier trellis is often made of wire within a supporting framework. The word espalier is originally from Italian and means back support. This type of trellis is used to support plants to grow into a certain shape often vertically. It can be used for any plant including tress. Often for apple trees, the branches are wrapped around the vertical supports. Instead of branching out wide the trellis keeps the area needed very narrow so that the apple trees can be planted closer together resulting in greater yield. The same principle can be used for many vegetables and fruit trees.
Which Type of Trellis is Best used for Cucumbers.
If you consider the cost of the initial trellis, the crop netting is most likely the most cost-effective. But if space is your issue, you might forgo the expense and select an espalier trellis as it will give you more yield in a much smaller space. So the choice is yours depending on your growing site.
Benefits of Using a Cucumber Trellis for Growing Cucumbers
Despite whatever trellis you decide to use, the benefits are similar. Yes, the yield is greater but there are many other benefits that will help reduce your costs.
Since the majority of the plant is up off the ground there is less likelihood of mildew forming.
Due to the fact that the cucumbers are very easily plant trained, there is no need for workers to stake them. With much less human contact you will control the spread of disease more effectively. And when the cucumber fruit starts to grow they are not sitting in the dirt but are hanging nice and clean from the trellis.
Since the cucumber plant is now hanging vertically, the leaves and flowers are more likely to receive sunlight greatly increasing the health of the plant.
When it is time to weed or to fertilize the plants, your precious cucumbers are mostly out of the way and that task can be completed more quickly.
The plants are easier to water. With most of the stem off the ground, there is fewer tendencies for rot to develop. This is of course also true for heavy rainfall.
And when it is time to harvest, your workers will find the job much easier to do than hunting for the cucumbers hiding under the leaves in the traditional method of growing. With either type of trellis, the fruit will be clearly visible and easier to harvest. In addition, the shape of the cucumber tend to be straighter than if grown along the ground, so you will benefit from nicer looking fruit as well.
How do you Train the Cucumber Plant to Use the Cucumber Trellis?
Well, that is very simple. With a few guidelines, you will be very successful.
Prepare the bed that is closest to the trellis carefully. If you have an opportunity mound the earth up so you will have a raised bed in which to plant your cucumber seeds or starter plants. This will help the soil drain and is especially important if you receive heavy rainfall in your area.
By adding fertilizer and peat moss to the raised bed, you will increase the chances of great success.
Now you are ready to plant the cucumber seeds or starter plants. Due to the fact that they will grow vertically and not horizontally you can plant many more plants than with other methods.
As the plants grow to about 12 inches, you can start to weave them into the netting or holes of the metal framework. This is a gentle task taking care with that you do not damage the delicate stems. You do not need ties as the plant will seem to grasp the structure and start to weave its own way up.
Check your trellis to make sure the plant continues to clutch the framework so it is reaching the top of the trellis.
At this point, you can be confident that your plant training is working.
Special Care of Cucumbers
As mentioned cucumber prefer well-drained fertilized spoil with a component of mulch. They also need to be watered so they don’t become bitter.
Beyond the Useful Garden Trellis
Some gardeners prefer to use a cucumber trellis and plants such as a pumpkin as a decorative vertical wall to break up the space in their yard or to hide unsightly but necessary items such as garbage cans, the ugly mess in the neighbor’s yard. If you select a vegetable such as cucumber, squash or zucchini you have a dual purpose for your trellis – beauty and great food value. In a similar manner, you can use the trellis with a climbing flower such as clematis or bougainvillea.
A Useful Technique to Use Cucumber Trellis
And so, if you use the trellis for cucumbers, or other vegetables or even climbing flowers you will be rewarded for your efforts in many ways. You will grow much more beautiful fruit in a healthy environment with less work by using cucumber trellis. You may even solve a landscaping issue in your yard.