Can I trellis Zucchini?

flowerchild3(z5 MI)March 24, 2005

Hi, I'm a newbie to SFG this year. I was hoping to grow a couple zucchini plants. I was thinking that zucchini grew like squash and that they could be grown on a trellis. Is that true? The SFG book was kindof vague about it. It mentioned something about zucchini plants taking up half of a 4x4 square. How many plants can fit in a 4x4 square? So, is it a bush plant or something? I don't have a lot of sunny yard space so I have to grow large sprawling plants on trellises.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

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giardiniere(z 6 KS)

Zucchini is not a vine, so it won't trellis. It has bush-type qualities, and does take up a bit of space. I would make a small hill or mound of soil and compost, about 1-1 feet in diameter. Plant 5-6 seeds around the hill, and thin to two or three.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 4:52PM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

With the bush squash, some folks (but not I) have successfully staked individual plants. It sounds challenging in my mind based on what I see squash do here, but further north it might be a little easier to pull off.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 5:17PM
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Michael_ut(z5 Ut)

Zucchini does very well in tomato cages, the comercial inverted cone type. I suggest you use the large size of cage. as the plant grows help work it up through the cage. I feel this gives it a very interesting look and assists with pest controll as the leaves are easier for me to reach and it holds them up off of the ground.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 1:34PM
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Mel does give more detail about trellising zucchini on his website. I plan to experiment with pattypan squash this year, to see if it can do the same trick ^_~

Is mise le meas
-==- Katzedecimal

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 2:27PM
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Jacque_E_TX(Z 8a N Cent TX)

YEPPER!: Sure, you can stake summer squashes. I do it. My old neighbor's done it for 60-some years. (And a row gardener for all but the last two, too. Whew!)

GOOD REASONS TO STAKE: Keeps it up off the ground, keeps the leaves growing on the lower levels, may keep the vine shorter (spending more energy on fruit production), keeps the fruit growing lower on the vine--yet up off the ground, keeps fruit from rotting against wet soil and drawing bugs.

TOOLS TO USE: I never tried to use a wire sqft cage on squashes (thinking it would be hard to harvest along the first foot of vine). Cones would work. This early in the year, stakes are probably cheaper--or free, if you have a straight branch lying around. 4 feet is plenty long for the stake in an 8-inch raised bed. You also need *several* ties per squash. Use a figure-8 tie with old pantyhose strips or soft stretchy fiber. (I use narrow green bias tape, which is stretchy. Save, wash with bleach, and reuse.) Trellises work if you have a low enough starting point, but I put other stuff on trellises (melons, winter squash, tomatoes, etc).

SECRET OF SUCCESS #1 (STAKING IN STYLE): Plant the stake first--firmly (steady, no wiggling). Then put the plant/seed in beside the stake. (No root damage from driving in a stake!)

PLANTING PATTERNS: In Texas, small items can grow near the center of the 4 squares, because they are grateful for the shade! Elsewhere, you can stake your squashes on the edge of the beds, 2 in a 1 x 3 squares line--stakees may take up 18-24 inches in width for big zucchini leaves. You can also plant in a corner square, near the outer corner, or devote the big middle of 4 squares to a summer squash, with shade lovers down below (like heat-tolerant lettuce followed by beets or short carrots and radishes) and sun lovers along the outer 6 inches of the blocks, as shown in the following pitiful text-art drawing (planted 4/1):


S = Sun lover
H = Heat tolerant (planted in the squares *around* the squash and stake, giving the summer squash a few inches of room)
X = stake (planted near the center of the 4 squares)
Z = Zucchini or other summer squash (planted near the center of the 4 squares, right by the stake, very snug and friendly-like)

SECRET OF SUCCESS #2 (BABYSIT EARLY AND OFTEN): Check your summer squashes every other day--they want to grow *out*. You must keep coaxing them *up*.

SECRET OF SUCCESS #3 (BABYSITTING PAYOFF): You check the plants every two days, right? You will *find* your squashies before they grow into baseball bats (or pattypan UFOs.....)

EMPIRICAL RESULTS (WHAT HAPPENED): I found the plants to be very healthy. I found I needed many more squash recipes.... (Slivers or strips make good low-carb pasta substitutes. Roasting and grilling are surprisingly good. The ice cream wasn't bad with enough chocolate syrup....)

The large wire cones (the NOT-tomato cages, lol) are fine for summer squashes, eggplants and peppers. They are also fine for brussels sprouts, come fall. (Yum! Just don't cook the bright green color away, and they taste fine.)

PLAN AHEAD FOR FALL: Brussels sprouts do great in 1/1 (1 per square foot). So do broccoli and cabbages, but they don't need stakes--so you can plant between the staked 'sprouts, and don't bother to move the stakes.

I once planted collard greens at 1/1 by mistake, then planted more of the same batch at 4/1 (four per square foot). The 1/1 collard greens made platter-sized leaves. They were so sweet in the heat of fall that I munched them right in the garden, long before the first hint of frost. (Those would make stunning cabbage rolls!) Maybe I should make that mistake again.... ;-D

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 2:31PM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

~ Jacque, did I mention I've really missed your posts?

BTW, we have a new FAQ entry.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 5:35PM
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Jacque_E_TX(Z 8a N Cent TX)

Aww, thanks Ray--my keyboard is blushing....

Now I'll go explore the wonders of WordDraw for the Home Edition.... lol

I'm glad we can visit again, too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 7:46PM
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I've been stuffing my zucchini into the traingle cages - and the plants, leaves etc. seem to be doing fine. No mildew etc. However, I'm a bit concerned about the flowers. They are on verrrrryyyy long stalks - I'm sure this will somehow affect the zucchini - like making them very long too?? What should I do?
It is nice though to have the plant up off the ground - I can clearly see all of the "developments" - and no moldy old leaves..
Oh, the other question...It's the end of June - and already a lot of the leaves have reached the top of the triangle (4 ft). What happens in August?
Brooke (super beginning gardener)
Champaign, Illinois

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 6:15PM
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Jacque- I'm sitting here laughing about the ice cream. My kids are beginning to suspect I sneak zucchini into everything they eat. And I do! ;-)

Brooke- when you say your flowers are on very long stalks- do these flowers have little zucchini fruits behind them? My male flowers are always on long stalks, but my females typically stay low to the base of the plant. Let us know.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 11:08PM
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