Growing plants vertically
I am in Michigan, and I am planning on trying a vertical garden (most of the veggies) next Spring. I have heard about "vertical" growing methods, but I am not quite sure what all the details are. Also, when and how do you prune tomatoe plants ? I plan on growing diff types (heirlooms, etc...). Do all tomatoe plants need to be pruned ? On another note, are praying mantis' and ladybugs a recommended method ?
Please let me know, Happy Gardening !!!
Several of the Mittleider gardening books give good illustrations and instructions for vertical growing. I recommend the Mittleider Gardening Course, Gardening by the Foot, Let's Grow Tomatoes, and Grow-Bed Gardening. The best place to obtain all of them is by getting the Mittleider Gardening Library CD. All are available at www.growfood. com in the Store section under Books and Software.
Vegetable varieties that can be grown vertically include indeterminate tomatoes, cucumbers (not the bush type), pole beans, smaller varieties of vining squash, small melons, greenhouse varieties of peppers, and eggplant.
Beans don't need to be pruned, but all others should be pruned regularly, by removing all sucker stems as soon as they begin to grow. Several articles on the website in the FAQ section are devoted to pruning. I recommend you look there for a comprehensive discussion on how to prune - however, the books will be the best, as they include pictures and illustrations.
We encourage beneficial insects in our garden, but we never count on them to handle pests on their own. Three cultural practices that are integral parts of the Mittleider Method free us from dependence on pesticides and herbicides, and cause people to refer to the method as including "the best of organics". They include:
1) Eliminating all weeds in your garden - with a 2-way hoe, rather than by using herbicides - is the single most important thing you can do to minimize pests.
2) Watering only the root zones of your plants means the rest of the garden is dry - again inhospitable to bugs and diseases.
3) Pruning all leaves that touch the ground removes the cover, reduces the cool, moist environment, and gives pests less opportunity to climb onto your plants.