Friday, July 20, 2012

Cool As A Cucumber Trellis

There's a bit of a lull in the garden right now. Summer crops are taking the heat and promising their bounty, greens continue rotating, and some fall seeds have been sown. Days are devoted to watering and pest control, don't get me going on the latter. Suffice to say that I must make a daily meditation of affirming Beauty in a world where I must hunt down and take out critters of all types. Ah, you carve out a slice of heaven pie and everyone wants a little piece. Pests, like crazy people who shoot off guns in movie theatres, cannot be eradicated, only managed wisely.

So I will keep it cool and share my cucumber trellising strategy. My favorites are Persian, their seeds may be hard to come by and they take some babying initially, but well worth it. They like to climb slightly so I designed and constructed some props to help them along. Having been a weaver, I approached the trellises like a warp and woof, laying out 6' poles of bamboo found at the local garden store, then spread nylon netting (with large holes for harvesting hands - also from garden store) over the top. I pulled it all together at the intersections with rot resistant zip ties. The result is aesthetically pleasing, lightweight yet structurally strong, stores easily during the off season, and versatile for other creepers like beans and peas. 

Depending on the angle you balance the frame, you can create growing space underneath for shade loving crops like lettuce. Bean cages can be planted in back of them, creating valuable vertical garden real estate and maximising sunshine for all. I balanced this trellis over the walls of the bed and an empty bean cage. The vines grow up and over the trellis and cage, then down the heat holding stone retaining wall. The cucumbers drop underneath for easy pickins.
Pretty cool, huh?