Saturday, June 2, 2012

Growing Vertical

~ pea trellis ~
It's taken a while for the peas to get started - as in months! I think I started planting them way too early, possibly in February when it was warm (the ground temp this February was 5 degrees Celsius!)

But that allowed us some time to finally figure out a system to get them growing vertical & in a modestly decent fashion. (Like gardening is about fashion skills...)

Since I've got my netting draped over plastic PVC pipe (most of it salvaged), we thought we'd stick with that system. They are easy to set up & will be easy to take down & disconnect for the winter. The vertical pieces are 5 feet in length, but with the added height of the raised bed, it's more than enough room for growing & picking.

~ bean tellis ~

Since the construction of the pea trellis worked out so well, I thought it was a good idea to try it with some runner beans. I haven't put on the lines yet as the beans were just planted & I wanted to make sure they would sprout & grow first. But essentially the same concept as the pea trellis.

Tie some line from the top down to a hanging pole above the surface of the soil so the emerging plants have something to grab hold of.

I'm very excited to see how this works this year. My one fear was that once the trellis' are covered in plants, would they then turn into sails should a summer wind storm come? Would they get blown over? I'll have to wait & see....

~ greenhouse bed ~
I've planted 4 of my tomatoes into the greenhouse bed & they seem to taking transplanting very well. I've traditionally used tomato cages in here - always forgetting to stake the cages & having to deal with leaning cages & heavy plants. The end result is a contraption that looks like a giant spider web of strings by the end of the season. I think this year I will try something different - what that is, I've not yet figured out.

I'm curious to try those long stakes that have curves in them (tomato spirals found at Lee Valley), but I have to check to see if I can actually get them as I live about 5 hours away from the nearest store.

~ potato bed ~

Now you might not consider growing potatoes to be 'vertical' gardening, but hilling the potatoes - piling mulch & dirt continually up & around the emerging plants - is a type of vertical gardening. You are raising the growing medium in order to produce more potatoes. I've been using grass mulch & the potatoes are growing through it & up just fine. I would have liked to use straw, but again, that's an item difficult to come by out here on the coast (distance from source - minimum 2 hours, and cost is prohibitive, especially if shipped out).

So, while my grass is also attaining heights of 2 feet or so, the rest of the garden is keeping up. I see sunshine peeking through the clouds, so that means I'll be able to get out today to mow & mulch!

Happy Summer!

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