A cave of cuke headknockers--most plants grew to 30 feet with one reaching 37 feet.

Cavegardens: Maximum yields of vining plants (not bush or roots)

Cavegardens describe how the use of an arbor that creates a cave of vegetables as the vine plants grow and across. The above pictures are examples what one can do. By skyscraper gardening, one can double one's production for a given size of garden because the plants will get more sun in a day per square foot.

The simplest cave garden is two "Pi/3.14" posts, that is, two sets of 6' treated 4x4 connected by a 8' 2x4 which extends out one foot on either side. These two Pi goal posts are connected by 4 lengths of 1.5" or larger bamboo (or equivalent). The maximum distance between the Pi posts should be six to eight feet. You will be surprised how growing vegetables will increase in weight bending the bamboo.

With a cave frame, one can plant root or bush vegetable on the outside as well a bug repealling marigolds (french). Example of root plants are radishes, turnips, and carrots. Bush plants include peppers, eggplants and determinate tomatos. (Indeterminate tomatos are vining). Some squash plants are bush (summer & zuchhini) and some are vining (winter, butternut and boston). One butternut plant can fruit ten or more squashes for the dinner table. They are called winter because they will not spoiled if kept in a cool place for many months (We have had butternut squashes in our cellar as late as April.)

One can expand this basic configuration in several ways to integrate the four-year crop rotation process to avoid plant diseases. One could add another Pi post at one end and so on. Or, one could four of them in a cross formation with each arm of the cross. Non-vining plants can be planted in the corner squares. A cross cavegarden works well with crop rotation.

Remember: Don't garden if you are not going to use drip irrigation and if you are not going to plant French marigolds and white radishes. They latter reduce bug infestations without harsh buggicides. If you get cucumber beetles, you cuke plants will die in a few hours from vascular ellification, i.e., a bacterium in their bite will block water transportation.

Below are pictures of my cave gardens over the years. At the bottom is how I compress them into one structure in the fall for opening up the area for tilling. Time in the garden is not work. It is good exercise much better than paying big money to work out at a gym after driving a CO2-sinning car to-and-fro.

Bamboo Teepee Caves: Instead of treated construction timber, one can construct the vertical supports out of three bamboo poles (2" diameter) bound together. Horizontal lines go from teepee to teepee.

A Christmas Tree or Cave of Tomatos

Also see Cave Construction

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