July 19, 2012

Growing Pumpkins Up

The pumpkin is engaged in a hostile takeover of the garden. . .and the yard.  Having crowded out the peppers, it's now marching across the lawn toward the road and the neighbor's hedge. 

This is a problem because we live in rental military housing, and our lawn isn't technically "ours."  There are no fences between the houses, and every space except for our porches is communal.  That's part of why I made a raised bed--the defined edges to the garden ensured that the neighborhood kids that run around don't also run OVER the garden. 

The property management company brings in landscapers twice a month who ride around the neighborhood on stand up mowers and mow the lawns.  I tuck the squash and pumpkin vines into the garden's borders on those days to ensure the tendrils don't get chopped off, but it's truly only a matter of time.  So, I've started looking for space saving solutions.

I can either expand the garden out or up.  Since I already have a set of trellises, building up seems easier.  Plus, my neighbors next door like to play catch in the back space, and I don't want to infringe on it more than I already have.
So, I found some websites that show squash on trellises and in slings.  This thread at square foot gardening has some nice images, and in this case a picture truly explains it best:  http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t6866-squash-and-the-trellisreally.

It seems doable, even though my pumpkins may end up being a bit too big.  Last night I did a huge closet triage--and I have a ton of old t-shirts to use for slings.  T-shirt fabric is perfect for this purpose.  It has a slight stretch but not too much of one, and it's strong enough to handle the weight of the melons.  More than that, it fits within my budget.

So, tonight and tomorrow, I'm going to set up a second trellis and loop the squash around it.  I should've started before the pumpkin appeared, but I didn't. . .so now I have to get a second set of hands to help hold the squash when I thread the vine through the trellis.

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