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Intensive Gardening - Circular Planting

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 15 January 2018 at 14:04
This is something that could be worth a try, and looks easy to do. Brook (HistoricFoodie) suggested it as a way to grow cucumbers more efficiently. Less weeding. Less watering. And avoidance of some pests. A definite win-win situation.

Quote How to Grow Cucumbers in a Circle

Circle planting is a method of intensive gardening that produces more food per square foot than traditional planting methods. Cucumbers are ideal vegetables for circle planting because their vining habits allow them to grow upward, eliminating the need for large amounts of garden space. Grow your cucumbers in a circle and you'll have enough to feed your family all summer for about the same amount of space as one tomato plant takes.

Things You Will Need

4-foot stakes
Chicken wire
Cucumber seeds

Plant cucumbers in a circle late in the spring, after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed and drained. Dig a circle in the garden soil about 2 feet across. Dig down 12 inches and remove all thick roots or stones. Mix a 3-inch layer of compost into the soil.

Pound 4-foot wooden stakes into the ground 6 inches inside the edge of the circle. Use at least five stakes to hold the structure steady, and pound them 8 inches into the ground.

Wrap chicken wire around the outside of the stakes to create a tubular structure. Twist the wire ends together to hold the structure intact. You now have a sturdy cage to hold the cucumber vines.

Plant six pairs of cucumber seeds evenly spaced around the outside of the cage. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep and water them thoroughly.

Nip off the weaker of each pair of seeds when they develop their second pair of true leaves. This leaves you with six strong cucumber plants to fill the cage.

Train the vines as they grow by entwining them through the holes in the chicken wire. Weave the vines in and out until the plant grows through the wire by itself.

Prune off the top of the plant when it reaches the top of the cage. This will cause the plant to produce more cucumbers, because it will stop using as much energy in growing vines and leaves and will concentrate on flowers and fruit.

Give the cucumber plants a regular inch of water every week. Don't over-water to produce puddles, but don't let the ground get completely dry. Regular moisture is the key to tasty and impressive cucumber crops.

Brook had some great information to add to this concept; I will post it here:

Originally posted by Brook Brook wrote:

If you use remesh, among other things it provides it's own spacing guide. Prep the soil, then plant seeds in conjuction with the vertical, "upright" wires. That would be six inches apart. Keep in mind, though, that the wider the circle, the more internal weeding might be necessary. You want to be able to comfortably reach through the mesh to at least halfway.

What you might consider is starting with six linear feet of remesh [per tower]. By linear feet, I mean unroll the remesh so that it's flat on the ground, and cut out a section six feet long. Remesh comes in 50-foot rolls; more than enough for your needs.

Roll each piece into a cylinder, and it will be 2 feet in diameter and 5 feet high, with 11 "uprights" to use as a guide for planting. If you space seed every other upright, that would give you six plants per tower. This will be perfect for tomatoes and cucumbers; more than enough for fresh eating and canning as well.

There are two ways to join the edges. 1) When marking off the six feet, cut it off to the inside of the upright. That will give you prongs which can be bent into hooks to catch the opposing upright. Note: Older remesh tends to have a temper, and the prongs will break when you try to bend them, unless you apply heat to take the temper out. 2) Alternatively, cut the mesh so there is an upright on each edge, and join them with a series of cable ties.

If you cut the bottom wire, you'll get similar prongs that act as legs. Push the tower right into the ground and, unless you're in a high-wind area, that's all the support the tower will need. If wind is a problem, drive a length of rebar into the ground, and wire the tower to it.

Something else to consider: Fill the inside with a heavy planting of radishes. They act as a trap plant for certain pests, and repel cucumber beetles as well. You won't, repeat won't, get a radish crop from them; but you won't have to weed internally, either, because the radishes act as a natural mulch as well.

Interestingly, with cucumbers, you increase productivity by about 30% just by growing vertically.

What other garden plants might this method work for? Small melons? Peppers?
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