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Growing garden plants on a living trellis (other garden plants)

 
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I've had a lot of success growing garden plants on other plants as a living and natural trellis.

Plants that I've used as a trellis are sunflowers, corn, and even some types of weeds.

Plants that I've grown on them include cucumbers and beans.

The plants can benefit from growing in a polyculture, maximizing sunlight by growing higher, reducing the work of setting up other types of trellis, and shading and minimizing weeds!

What plants have you grown like this? Have you had any really good combination of plants growing together like this?

 
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Steve Thorn wrote:I've had a lot of success growing garden plants on other plants as a living and natural trellis.

Plants that I've used as a trellis are sunflowers, corn, and even some types of weeds.

Plants that I've grown on them include cucumbers and beans.

The plants can benefit from growing in a polyculture, maximizing sunlight by growing higher, reducing the work of setting up other types of trellis, and shading and minimizing weeds!

What plants have you grown like this? Have you had any really good combination of plants growing together like this?



The three sisters (corn, beans, squash); sunflowers, beans, basil, tarragon; tomatoes, peppers, melons.
 
Steve Thorn
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:The three sisters (corn, beans, squash); sunflowers, beans, basil, tarragon; tomatoes, peppers, melons.



Which plant do you grow melons on?
 
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I use various varieties of cheap mustard seed as a cover crop (ala Gertrud Franck) - for shade, mulch, food.
They have a shallow non-aggressive rooting habit, but are extremely hardy and don't mind being smothered by viney plants.
Most of them get pulled out as more valuable volunteers and sowed-seed germinates amongst them.
Leaving a sturdy one to go to seed next to a bean plant, as a trellis, gives a double harvest of veg as well as benefiting pollinators and your seed bank.

I also grow the very vigorous 'tree lettuce' that has thick stems over a metre tall, both in and around the borders of my garden - these can hold up beans, tomatos, peppers.
 
Steve Thorn
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Jondo Almondo wrote:I use various varieties of cheap mustard seed as a cover crop (ala Gertrud Franck) - for shade, mulch, food.
They have a shallow non-aggressive rooting habit, but are extremely hardy and don't mind being smothered by viney plants.



Awesome, I like let my cucumbers grow over some random weeds sometimes, and it's nice that it keeps them off the ground.

Most of them get pulled out as more valuable volunteers and sowed-seed germinates amongst them.
Leaving a sturdy one to go to seed next to a bean plant, as a trellis, gives a double harvest of veg as well as benefiting pollinators and your seed bank.

I also grow the very vigorous 'tree lettuce' that has thick stems over a metre tall, both in and around the borders of my garden - these can hold up beans, tomatos, peppers.



Very neat!
 
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Steve Thorn wrote:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:The three sisters (corn, beans, squash); sunflowers, beans, basil, tarragon; tomatoes, peppers, melons.



Which plant do you grow melons on?




I think the melons and squash in this system usually grow on the ground in between the rows
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Steve, melons and squashes are used as the ground covering planting.
But they will grow up a sunflower stalk if you let them and then you have to create a hammock for the melon to grow in so they don't pull down the stalk.
I keep the melon vines on the ground by training them to grow around the other plants.
 
Steve Thorn
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Steve, melons and squashes are used as the ground covering planting.
But they will grow up a sunflower stalk if you let them and then you have to create a hammock for the melon to grow in so they don't pull down the stalk.
I keep the melon vines on the ground by training them to grow around the other plants.



Neat
 
Steve Thorn
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Sometimes I let my cucumbers run along the ground as a ground cover and then on to other sturdy plants since the cucumbers are usually pretty lightweight when I harvest them and don't pull down the trellis plant.

I've found it's been a good combination of letting my cucumbers run along the ground a little and then also climb up on a trellis plant, since it'll put out new roots along the part of the vine on the ground and the trellising part gets extra sunlight and the cucumbers are easier to find and pick!
 
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I have only grown beans on a heavily pruned cherry tree.

In the Philippines I saw beans, squash, bitter gourd, loofah and other unidentified things going up heavily pruned forage trees. Some trees are grown as forage for cattle sheep and goats. They are quick growing nitrogen fixers. The foliage is hacked back regularly, so that the amount of sun getting to the food crops can be managed. Many things don't want to roast in the tropical Sun, but then when it's time for ripening, there's an advantage to getting more light on it. So you feed the goats a little more at that time.

There's a dry season. When grass is in short supply, the forage trees can be harvested more heavily, and this exposes the ripening melons or beans to more sun. After these crops ripen, all of the vines can be ripped down and fed to the animals. This gives the forage trees a chance to recover. Grass and other ground cover puts on New Growth within a couple days of rain, so when the rainy season begins, the forage trees are allowed time to recover.
 
Steve Thorn
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This cucumber is growing up goldenrod.

The goldenrod attracted a lot of pollinators and beneficial insects last year when it bloomed in late summer/early fall, and it seemed to really help with pollination and pests for the cucumbers and other garden plants during that time of the year.

It makes the cucumbers easier to see and find too, as they can camouflage so well on the ground and hide under other things!
20190615_165726.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20190615_165726.jpg]
Cucumber plant growing up a goldenrod flower natural trellis
 
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