help making squash towers

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)March 27, 2013

I'd like to make squash towers for winter squash as I do container gardening and I have limited space; making them would maximize this space without stressing out the plants (via overcrowding).

Basically I plan to follow the design of a tomato cage. People have recommended concrete reinforcement wire; would this work?

How wide should the openings be? I want the openings wide enough that I can reach thru and harvest the fruit without it getting caught.

I know this depends on the type of squash; I'd be growing acorn, butternut, kabocha (asian type of pumpkin; much smaller than American pumpkins), delicata, and spaghetti.

Would I have to train the vines up the cages? All the varieties I have are either bush or semi bush so they have shorter vines and take up less space than traditional vining varieties of winter squash.

How tall should the cages be and what size roll of the mesh should I get to start off with (I don't know how many cages I'd be making; would start with one roll of mesh and see how many cages I get from that)

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samhain10(5a - MI)

You don't say what sort of square footage you're talking about, but with the many varieties you've mentioned, unless you're planning on picking a couple and only growing one plant a piece, you may be pushing trying to do this as container gardening. Certainly I wouldn't put more than one plant to a cage. And not sure about the kabocha, but both butternut and spaghetti can be rather big and HEAVY. Delicata is wonderful for being small (and personally, I think the sweetest of all squash) - it might work best for you.
However - my suggestion is to get REALLY strong hardware cloth with 4 -6" openings. Make sure it's anchored deeply into your container. Plant three seeds around the cage (you'd weed it down to one after they're established). The cage might only need to be a foot or two in diameter because you are training the plant mostly around the outside, or at least, the blossoming stems. You'll have to keep a close eye on it the whole season to make sure it doesn't set fruit on the inside, since you'd run into that problem you mentioned above - fruit half in, half out of the mesh. Height of the cage I think would be decided by diameter - wider the diameter, the higher the cage. Oh, and I'd suggest careful pruning, too, as the season goes on to keep things manageable and to make sure it's balanced so it doesn't topple from too much weight on one side.
I should add that you may want to make slings for the fruit as it gets bigger - I do this with my heirloom tomatoes to keep them from breaking the stems - some of them can weigh a pound or more! Some of those squash can easily weigh 3-5 pounds.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:13AM
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petrushka

the season is over but you can research for the next one.
people are using livestock panels or 'cattle panels' to build small arbors. they are very sturdy.
i am sure you can grow small pumpkins on them. and whne they get heavier, you can rig a holding mesh bag for them and attach it to the structure. lots of interesting ideas in 'greenhouses and garden structures forum' on GW

Here is a link that might be useful: cattle panel arbor

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Niivek

I have a buddy that grows butternuts vertically. He nailed some wooden lattice to his garage and lets the vines grow up on them. Seems to hold up pretty well.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:56PM
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michgrower

I would like some tips on growing snake gourd. What type of soil, seed source and trellis structure. Thsnks

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:14PM
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