In my previous blog post, I talked about how attractive I thought my trailing cucumbers were on the veg patch.
Since then, I’ve thought more about trailing veg plants, and how great they are to grow from both an aesthetic and practical point of view.
Trailing plants look splendid, sprawling across the plot and over pathways and neighbouring beds, but they also serve an excellent space-saving function.
You can, of course, train them upwards, but I like to plant them in the corner of my beds and guide them into areas of the plot I’m not using. You just have to watch where you’re treading!
If you’re going to grow a trailing plant, a good tip is to put a stick in the ground where the roots are. That way you always know where to water, even the plant has made its way 20 feet down the plot!
Here are four trailing veg plants to try.
With their big flowers and stunning fruits, squashes make really eye-catching features on an allotment. This year, I’m trying Turk’s Turban, which is an incredible looking fruit, but there are lots of other interesting varieties to try.
If you’re looking for a reliable variety to try squashes the first time, I’d recommend Hercules F1 or Harrier F1. These have excellent germination rates and with regular watering, each plant will produce at least 3-4 fruits.
Another smashing squash attribute is its versatility. I’m not sure there is anything culinary you can’t do with it. Since I’ve been growing squash, I’ve used it in lasagne, salad, curry, soup, risotto, pasta, falafels, and pizza. I’ve stuffed them and even made muffins.
Outdoor ridged cucumbers cues will happily grow in temperatures around 15 degrees so make great cue alternatives if you don’t a greenhouse.
Each plant should give you 10 or so fruits during the summer, especially if you water regularly.
Essentially they’re big gherkins and share the same rough skins but the idea is not to let them grow to the same size as the cucumbers you’d find in the shops. I pick mine when they’re about 6 inches long, or half the length of a conventional cucumber.
The tricky thing about melons is germination. They like it hot, as the seed packet points out, and will need minimum temperatures of 27-32C to germinate.
The wonder of growing melons is that when they’re ripe they smell, well, very melony. A summer greenhouse mix of melons, basil, and tomatoes is a really heady one.
This being England, and the weather often iffy, I was worried my melon might be dehydrated, or just a bit rubbish. But it wasn’t. The flesh was bright orange and beautifully juicy, and the flavour sweet. Safe to say, I was over the moon.
This year, my mum is trying a trailing courgette in her garden. We’ve not grown these before, but at the moment, results are good. We’re growing DT Brown’s Black Forest variety, and so far the plant has provided half a dozen fruits.
Strictly speaking, this variety is a climber, but having left the plant to its own devices, the vines seem quite content winding their way around the side of the greenhouse.