Thursday, April 23, 2015

Trellis and other ideas to get your garden off of the ground

I'm back with the letter of the day for the A to Z challenge. Today's letter is T. While you may have noticed that we do a bit of farming we have a small amount of available land to actually work, so we have to get creative to make the most of the space we have. That is where today's letter comes in.

I'm going to talk about "growing Up" as in growing upwards by using Trellises. Make the most of your space by using it for more than one thing. Many veggies can be trained to grow up instead of out giving you more plants in the same spaces. Or growing plants together or underneath each other.

Grouping plants together to made the most of your space has been around for a very long time. The Native Americans used the Three Sister ideal for gardening. This involves, Corn, Beans and squash. The corn grows up and the beans use the corn as a trellis, then the ground is available for the squash. The Beans add nitrogen to the soil and help anchor the corn, so it won't blow over so easy. The squash acts as a ground cover and keeps the roots cool, helps prevent evaporation and the leaves are prickly so it would keep predators away from the corn.

Use what you have, it doesn't have to be fancy. Already have a fence, grow beans, peas or cucumbers on it. They are easier to reach and won't rot as easily as if they were on the ground. Tree limbs, especially willow make great trellis designs, since the are easily bent.

Want to lure your kids to the garden, try a bean teepee. Take 6 to 8 lightweight wooden poles and in a circle push the ends into the ground a few inches. Make sure you leave an opening large enough to enter along the perimeter. Tie them at the top to complete your structure. Plant your beans every two inches and train them to run up the poles. In no time you'll have a great mystical hiding place in the garden. I always wanted one of these personally but I was lucky enough to have a very old grape vine to hide in as a child. Just a bit of time can build a love for the garden that will last a life time.


You know how fast lettuce wilts in the heat, try growing it with cucumbers. Plant your lettuce in a square patch and on one end plant your cucumbers. Build  a slanted trellis that covers the lettuce area. Once the vines grow up over the trellis you'll have instant shade for your shade loving greens. And you get two crops that work great together in small space. We have tried with cucumbers, and squash, both worked out very well. We plan on having a few in a new garden space that we are using this year. 
Cucumber Trellis
Credit to Gardeners Supply for the picture. It's no longer available but you can see how easy it is to make
It's time to start breaking out the tools and scrounging around in the shed all of those bits and pieces that you have held on to. Now you can some great ideas for trellises in your garden. Make the most of your small spaces and branch out to new ideas! Then come back on Friday and I'll be talking about markets and selling. Thanks for stopping by. Wander around a bit you might just find something you'll love!