Friday, August 21, 2009

Grow Up!

This year in the garden I built some tellises to maximize my limited growing space. It was an experiment. Previous years I have grown green beans up of course but I wanted to try something else.

The biggest success is the Hubbard squash. The squash seem to love climbing up the trellis and have been able to support themselves just fine. The Hubbard squash are really getting large and show no signs of breaking off. I have some old panty hose ready to make a sling if necessary to support the squash.

The cucumbers have also been happy and productive. I planted two plants from the nursery and then planted some seeds. The seeds came right up and with a little help began to climb the chicken wire. It has been easier to find the cukes and pick them.

The beans were attacked by deer and did not do so well this year. With all the veggies I have in the garden, Bambi seemed the think the beans were the most delectable. There were three kinds planted and all three varieties never had a chance to grow more than a foot high. The little dears would jump the fence early morning and have a breakfast of champions. Since I have not found a deterrent that works with deer other than building a 10 foot electric fence I have to live with them.

I tried building a trellis with one inch pvc pipe which I supported by fitting it onto rebar that was pounded into the ground. I then cut chicken wire and secured it to the pipe with plastic ties. Easy to build but I found it was not as sturdy as I had hoped. Maybe I needed longer rebar.

The other trellis was built using 1x2's and 1x4's to make a frame. I stapled the chicken wire to the wood and nailed the trellis to the sides of the garden box. These frames have worked for the cucumbers and I would repeat this method. I am not a great carpenter but I do get a kick out of trying to create something from scraps I find or come by.

So if you have not tried growing up before, give it a try next summer! You will have more produce grown in a smaller space.

Oh, one more tip. My friend Peggy saw the topsy turvy commercials on TV and wanted to try growing tomatoes upside down. She didn't want to buy the gadgets so she acquired some plastic tubs at a local grocery store, cut a two inch hole in the bottom with an electric knife, planted tomato plants by sticking the tip of the plant through the hole and pulled out till she reached the base of the plant where the leaves began, filled the pots with garden soil and compost and hung the containers. She hung the pots in full sun and watered from the top. Behold the tomatoes flourished growing upside down reaching for the ground! What a clever way to grow produce with limited space. This method would be great on apartment patios. She didn't grow up she growed down!!!!

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