Q. 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 tomato plants? Do all tomato plants need to be pruned?
A. 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 Shop 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.