Why Vegetable espalier is essential
Espaliering simply means to train a crop to grow against a flat surface. This technique has been used in France for many centuries with trees such as pear and apples. For tree crops, this technique allows growers to grow more crops in a small space. It also increases yield and offers lots of benefits. However, the technique can also be used to grow vegetable crops.
Training offers many benefits to vegetable growers. It helps to save space and allow more crops to be grown. Fruit bearing vegetables like cucumber can bear more fruits with this technique. The plant will be able to carry more fruits without breaking since support is provided.
On the other hand, espaliered vegetables benefit from increased air circulation. This makes them healthier than untrained vegetables. The technique also allows the gardener to spot problems earlier one and takes the necessary steps more promptly. This means less spraying will be needed.
Espaliered crops are easy to harvest than those untrained. In fact, they are also faster to harvest. Any treatment can be applied quickly and easily and it requires a lesser volume of spray. The technique also exposes the crop to an adequate amount of sunlight which is required for proper growth.
Solve landscape problems in interesting ways
From an aesthetic point of view, espaliering can help growers solve landscape problems. There is no better way to enhance a bare house wall than to allow vegetables grow and be trained against it. It changes the entire looks of the building. If the building has windows, you can pick a form that frames it.
The six espaliering techniques
The six techniques are cordon, palmetto verrier, fan, informal, Belgian fence, and candelabra.
Creating your own espaliering technique
The first thing is to choose a sunny spot. For this, north fencing will be okay. However, if you are espaliering against a fence or wall, do not forget that there are materials that can become very hot and eventually damage the branches of your plant. Examples of such materials are colorbond or the dark colored bricks. To prevent this, you can erect a structure that is about 30cm from the wall.
The next is the pattern you want to adopt. You may decide to choose an informal espalier or a symmetrical pattern. An informal espaliering is more preferred because it can take just about any shape. However, irrespective of the style you choose, pruning still needs to be done occasionally to have that flat two-dimensional effects which espaliers is known for.
This technique consumes a lot of time but you have to remain patient and dedicated. As branches grow to meet the support or wire, you have to train and tie them firmly but gently.