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Gardening is possible in almost any spot, even small, urban spaces. One important method to use when gardening in a small space is trellising. Trellis can be purchased or made, given budget or creative restrictions.
The trellis in this article was created out of necessity and NO budget. I wanted to grow something that I knew our family would get a lot of use of, hopefully something I could can and preserve over the winter. My grandmother and mother (of Mormon Pioneer heritage) were taught by their female relatives how to grow and can a large variety of fruits and vegetables.
I recalled a garlic-dill pickle my grandmother used to make which also consisted of large cucumbers, pickled with fresh dill, slices of garlic and pearl onions. I would sneak in to my grandmother’s pantry and could eat an entire quart in one setting, they were so unbelievable good.
Based on that recollection, my family agreed that cucumbers would be the ideal plant. Pre-planning is always critical in a successful garden. Cucumbers of all varieties respond much better, grow quicker and provide better harvests when the vines are lifted from the soil, using some type of training system.
Our garden is comprised of about 75% containers, for many reasons (to review our garden primer published by Ladybud last Spring, click this link.) We decided to create the garden from seed, as organically and cheaply as possible. In preparation for the cucumbers, we transplanted 6 babies into a large, clean, plastic container, lined with landscaping fabric, filled with soil and mulch mixture. Before we transplanted, we placed the container against two hard structures, our wood patio and a wooden fence which faces south, to allow for support and sufficient sun exposure.
Although these two structures were a good start, I also wanted to create more spaces for the cucumbers to grow on. We had an old, discarded headboard (queen size). I was able to disassemble and then re-assemble with parts of old wood I picked up for free.
I ran the headboard almost the entire length of my patio and also installed a 4 foot tomato cage. The 6 little plants have already evolved like mad, covering the entire tomato cage as well as the headboard.
In addition to the home made trellises, I have used two rolls of hemp twine, essentially building bridges and supports as each cucumber develops.
We also decided to grow Beefsteak tomatoes this summer, by setting several containers against a west facing, 6 foot, wood fence.
In utilizing these containers and home made trellises, we are also in compliance with rules from our HOA which, in part, require each component of the garden to be able to be “cleaned up and put away” before the onset of winter.
We chose to use hemp twine for several reasons:
We always support any type of legal hemp or cannabis product
The twine is lightweight, durable, waterproof, natural, organic, easy to manipulate and tie
The twine is affordable, around $3.00 at most retail stores for a large spool
It can be easily added and removed from any surface, simply by cutting with kitchen scissors at the end of the season
It is biodegradable so if parts do end up on the ground, they will not cause any harm to the rest of the garden or additional trash
In planning for the tomatoes, before we ever placed a container against the fence, we hammered dozens of small nails into the wood part of the fence and roped the hemp twine, front the top to the bottom and from side to side, over 20 feet in length. This twine is essential in giving these tomatoes enough essential support through their entire development. Each of these fruits can weigh up to one pound and by utilizing any trellis, table, twine or other object, a smart gardener will ensure a much better harvest with little to no cost.
For more articles about Gradi’s Organic Garden, click here.
Photo Credit: Gradi Jordan