THE FUNNY FARMER: An astonishingly boring, painful, humorous and occasionally insightful approach to gardening and life as amom, a former psychotherapist, and apparently a life-long patient.


My name is Cherie and I live in Southern Maine with my husband and two young children. I have a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and still have about 10k in remaining student loans to prove it. I left the field of practice three years ago, so this is not the place to be posting any suicide notes, okay? But if you want to hear about my garden and my gremlins, my pests and my problems, well then you just sit right down and read on!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Creative Trellising for Veggie Gardening

Our of respect for climbing specimen, consideration of space limitations, and the joy of experimentation, I have taken to trellising this year more than any other. 

My father's cucumbers sprawled in his large vegetable garden and I was not even aware until recently that they have a climbing habit!  I have two cucumber varieties this year.  One is a Striped Armenian and I fashioned a climbing structure in a raised bed out of leftover decking lattice (well, perhaps "fashion" is not the best word...).  My second variety is pickling cucumbers because I adore the mustard pickles I grew up with.  Sooo tart and yummy, I WILL have pickles this fall!  I rummaged around my "potting shed" and garage and emerged with an old wooden ladder that should have been thrown out years ago.  I read that I should loosely tie the vines with fabric to the support, so that's what I'll try unless anyone else has a good suggestion.  My reading on trellising cukes has been very interesting!  Many claim that their trellised cucumber plants are less succeptible to disease, become more prolific, and create better shaped cukes that do not have white/yellow markings from laying on the ground.  My thinking is that they might be easier to find as well!

My next climber (no, not Matilda) is green beans.  More creative in my seed purchasing this year as well, I bought the Fortex Green Beans which claim to be long, slender, and stringless.  I can't wait to see/eat them!   G  Make no mistake that although I like creative shapes and colors, my veggies are ALL chosen for taste as well!  Like my dad, I used to plant my green beans in either side of a low row wire trellis.  This was sufficient, but I'm curious about the teepee method for space considerations.  I built a teepee out of three bamboo poles and planted 8-10 seeds around each pole.  I placed the poles in two different beds so the climbing will use the least amount of space as possible.  If all goes well, Matilda will LOVE the resulting tunnel even more than she likes it now!
For my first planting of snap peas this season I used my old method which is a foldable wire fence.  Functional, not ugly, but not very interesting to look at either.  I have attached a pic from my second planting of snap peas with an aesthetically improved "trellis".  After wandering the aisles of Lowe's for trellises (there are many options and most are quite pricey) I came home with an insta-fence.  It has panels that lock together and come apart so it's versatile from seasonn to season.  I'm a wee bit concerned about it toppling from weight with the anchors it came with.  If that becomes a problem, I'll have to stake it into the ground more firmly next time with another method.

These fencing pieces I purchased with the visions of containment, not climbing.  My raspberry bushes had become quite aggressive so I pulled up many of them and created a "row" with a fence piece on each end, one in the middle, and string attached to the sides to keep the branches from drooping into the lawn.  I am quite sure that the "posts" it came with will not be sufficient, so my "things to do" list includes anchoring them more firmly.
Does anyone out there have any creative trellising ideas/suggestions/pics?

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