Many people shy away from growing pumpkins because they have a small garden and don't have room for a plant that can be such a space hog. One way to minimise the space that a pumpkin plant will need is to grow the plant upright on a trellis, rather than letting it sprawl on the ground. Another major benefit to trellising pumpkins is that your fruits will not be as susceptible to pests, rot, mould and diseases as they are when grown on the ground. Since pumpkins are a heavy fruit, some care needs to be taken when using a trellis, however the effort can be well worth it.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Pumpkin plants
- Old sheets or netting
- Irrigation system or soaker hose
Prepare your trellis system, such as mesh fencing supported by sturdy posts, pole tripods, or tautly pulled twine or wire tied to posts. Pumpkins need a sturdy trellis, and it will benefit you to have a lot of vertical supports.
Choose a pumpkin variety with small to medium sized fruits, such as miniature pumpkins or pie pumpkins. Transplant your seedlings next to the trellis, or sow directly into the ground.
Arrange the pumpkin vines on the supports as they grow long enough to reach the trellis. Once they find the support, they will cling to it happily as they grow.
Provide support for fruits once the are more than a couple of pounds by slinging them.
Cut legs off the largest sized pantyhose you can find for smaller fruits less than 5 inches in diameter. Gently stretch one leg open, position it under the pumpkin, and slide the nylon over the fruit. Tie the end of the pantyhose leg to the trellis so that the fruit is gently resting inside it with the pantyhose taking the brunt of the weight.
Make a hammock sling for larger pumpkins using cheesecloth, netting or old sheets. Tie one end to the trellis on one side of the fruit, then tie the other side to the trellis on the opposite side of the fruit. Position it so the fruit will rest on the fabric, taking most of the weight stress off the vines. Spread the fabric out around the fruit to support the bottom of the pumpkin.
Avoid getting your pumpkin slings or fruits wet whenever possible. Don't use sprinklers or hoses. Water at the soil line with an irrigation system or soaker hose. If you must use an overhead watering system, use a hose on low so that it doesn't splash up and water the soil, not the plants.
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