How to grow squash vertically

image of trellis with squash growing on it. title of article is over the image with kitchen patch logo beneath title

Growing squash vertically is a technique I use in my home garden and recommend it to gardeners who want to save space or have an easier time harvesting their squash. Growing vegetables vertically also allows for prettier squash that typically do not have bruises or odd-shapes they would otherwise get from laying on the ground. Keep reading to learn how to grow squash vertically.

Small wooden trellis with peas sprouting at the base. Behind the wooden trellis is a cattle panel trellis arch.

Choosing your squash

The best type of squash to grow vertically are the varieties that grow on a vine. Most winter and some summer squash grow on vines and are easy to train to attach and grow on fence lines or trellises. Acorn, butternut, smaller pumpkin varieties, and spaghetti squash are all great options to grow vertically. Plant them near vegetables or flowers that prefer shade. 

Zucchini and yellow summer squash are not easy to grow vertically because they are bush squash and grow thick vines that spread out from the center of the plant. These are best planted on hills and need plenty of room around them to grow outward.

Grow squash vertically with these steps: 

  1. Choose your variety of vining squash seeds.
  2. Prepare a trellis. These can be purchased at most hardware or garden stores in the spring and summer. Or, you can make a trellis at home with a cattle panel arch or even by tying together long, sturdy sticks in the shape of a cone (approximately 3-5 feet tall), or simply use a large tomato cage.
  3. Plant your seeds 3-4 inches apart at the base of your trellis on 6 inch hills. Add fertilizer or compost into your soil at the time of planting and water them as needed.
  4. When the squash have sprouted, thin the seedlings down to the strongest vines. 
  5. When the seedlings are tall enough to reach the trellis, start wrapping the vines around your trellis in an upward fashion. 
  6. Continue to care for your plants and help them grow along your trellis. At this point, they should start to wrap themselves around the trellis as they grow. 
  7. Avoid letting your squash over-grow so they don’t weigh-down your trellis. 
  8. Enjoy an easy harvest and perfectly shaped squash. 
Cattle panel trellis with cucumbers growing on one side and peas growing on the other side.

Other vegetables to consider growing vertically

Other veggies that grow beautifully on a trellis are cucumbers, peas, and vine-type beans. 

The steps to grow cucumbers vertically are the same as squash. I created a cattle panel arch in the back of my garden to grow cucumbers on one side and squash or peas on the other side. It creates an almost magical feeling to sit under in the summer when the vines are well-established. 

Kid sitting on a black bench petting a kitten under a cattle-panel trellis.

Peas can easily grow on a fence, a string line, or a smaller wooden trellis. Plant these early in the spring because they prefer cooler weather. My kids love to harvest and eat peas straight from the garden. 

Vine-type beans can also be grown similarly to peas but can be harvested all summer long. 

line trellis in garden

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