How to Build a Winter Squash Arch
I’ve always wanted to plant winter squash, but since my garden is an urban backyard garden, space has always been an issue with crawling vines like watermelon, winter squash and sugar pumpkins.
We may have found a solution.
Side note: Mr. Wonderful insists on wearing these overalls, and while I originally despised them, I think he looks quite cute in them don’t you?
It only took us a few hours to build this PVC squash arch and when I say “we” this time I mean he and I! I actually helped.
To bend the PVC pipe (we used 3/4″ PVC pipe) I boiled a pot of water and took it out to him. He put a cap on the end of the PVC pipe and poured the hot water through a funnel into the PVC and let it set a minute or two. Then he dumped it out and the heated plastic pipe bent beautifully!
Again, I helped. I can boil a mean pot of water!
Our PVC wasn’t long enough so he cut some other pieces to lengthen it and joined the pieces together with some PVC connectors. We opted to hook them to our raised beds from the side of one stretching across the walkway and other bed to the far side of it.
And then he clamped them onto our raised bed boards with C clamp brackets (again 3/4 inch).
He painted these before he clamped them on but waited to paint the rest of the arch until after. However if we did it again we’d probably do it beforehand and away from the vegetables. That makes me nervous.
Nothing like organic onions with a bit of spray paint on them for dinner!
Next we added the wire fencing. According to Mr. Wonderful, you can buy it in different gauge wire fencing. We used some we had rolled up in the shed. Unfortunately we can’t remember what gauge because we’ve had it awhile. Keep in mind that you want stronger fencing for something really heavy like larger pumpkins, etc. We are using ours for sugar (small) pumpkins and butternut squash (which I will probably help in weight by looping slings around with tube socks, knee-high pantyhose or something stretchy).
The width of the arch would be up to you depending on the size you want and the space you have to use. We made ours about three feet wide so as not to shade too much of the bed. We have onions under there right now but may move it and plant something that likes shade better under it.
We cut the wire and pieced it together on the arch rather than waste a lot by just using the whole length.
We cut it so the wires were left loose on each side and then bent them around the pole
Then (here’s where I came in). I helped zip-tie them on by looping the zip ties through the squares and around the pole and pulled them tight.
I realize my hands look rather manly here.
Just kidding – I couldn’t take a picture of myself doing it so I took of shot of the Wonderful guy doing it.
When you get to the part where you join two pieces of the fencing together, loop it through both squares – one on one piece and the other on the other piece. Then snip off the tail of the zip tie. Oh, and also snip all the other ones as well!
Do this all the way over the arch.
And just for added measure and stability, Mr. Wonderful cut and added a PVC support at the top. Again held on with zip ties.
I am so ready to get my plants going on this arch – it’s going to look so cute in our garden with vibrant green vines climbing over it and yellow squash blossoms! Stay tuned for later posts and pictures!