Friday, July 16, 2010

Squash Trellis - A New Favorite

As a self-confessed vegetable geek who helps at an organic farm in Tokyo and has a garden, I still get an irresistible urge periodically to head out to the local vegetable stands to see what's on offer. Inevitably a good deal, I usually come away with a little Japanese practice, a recipe, and sometimes a new vegetable. The other day I came away with a new idea.

Reminiscent of the kiwi carport, this squash trellis is my new favorite find. (Ok, it's not really a new idea, but it's the biggest trellis of its kind that I've ever seen.) Full green leaves fluttered along strong vines sporting not just the usual showy squash blossom but lovely, lovely squash in various stages of growth. Hanging at about head height they did seem like a bit of a hazard, but still stunningly beautiful. Surprisingly, there were no supports for the squash as I thought there might be, although I'm planning to head back again to see how it progresses. Metal poles with sturdy netting running across the top and down the sides made for a perfect little alcove. (I confess I was so transfixed by the squash that I didn't look to see if anything was growing underneath.)

The trellis itself runs along the south end of what is now a large and busy garden, but at one time must have been part of a much larger field. (I surmise this based on the size of the adjacent farmhouse and bamboo grove, both of which are some of the largest I've seen in this area.) A grape arbor with the ripening clusters in little white bags at the moment to protect them from greedy birds and bugs runs along the north end as does a rather long row of sunflowers. The associated vegetable stall while a bit out of the way, is still one of my favorites and always worth a visit.


Charles Hamel said...

I have seen this before. The fruits will develop fatter stems in response to them being suspended.

Actually this can be done with melons also, believe it or not.

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

That's brilliant news about the fatter stem, and it makes complete sense. Perhaps it just feels risky?

The farmers I work with also commented today that there will be no discoloration on the fruit from sitting on the ground.