Monday, June 17, 2013

Trellises and Other Garden News

Brand New Bamboo Bean Trellis.

I get a lot of email. Who doesn't? Much is from organizations we belong to. Like most people I glance at it and immediately get rid of 80-90%. But when I got an email from Seed Savers Exchange and saw that there was an article on the best garden trellises I had to take a look.

We have a very small yard though some would say it's relatively large by big city standards. Just about the first thing we did when we bought the house was put in eight 4'x8' raised beds. They've decayed and disintegrated many times over the years so last year I put in the newest version. Hopefully it will last a bit longer than some of the others.

We do like to garden, for both food and for flowers and/or aesthetics. But we also like to feed the birds and create a habitat that will be welcoming to them. This creates a problem in a small space. There just isn't room for all that we try to do. Still we do manage to make enough compromises to both garden and have a bird-friendly yard.
Oregon Giant Snow Peas on Old Pea Trellis.

A major structural part of our food gardening is trellises. We need to have a way to hold up the various things that grow to tall heights, in particular Fortex pole beans from Johnnys Seeds. They are vigorous, delicious, rarely tough even at the greatest length, and last until late fall. The bamboo trellis at top was taken directly from the SSE blog. I think it will be much sturdier than the bamboo and twine trellis that I've used in the past.

In the lower left of the photo above you can see the remaining Oregon Giant Snow Peas barely holding up to their cedar stake and twine trellis. Overabundant rain nearly brought them to the ground. But they've been delicious. Last night we celebrated Father's Day with a satay stir fry of these peas, chicken and soba noodles.

But I've been getting very anxious. I should have the beans in by now, not to mention the cucumbers. So today I finally pulled them out, harvesting at least another 50 large snow peas as I did so. That raised bed now holds the new beans and bean trellis. Just behind the bed the Monarda is just about to bloom, just in time we hope to attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds/
Half of the Raised Beds.

Last week when it was too wet to go into the garden I took the photo above from our bedroom window. It's a nice view of four of the raised beds, two New Dawn roses and Jackmanii clematis on some very complex trellises I built for them a number of years ago, and an ancient plastic composter. At lower right a Winterberry, much loved by American Robins and others fights for space with the raised bed.
Greens Raised Bed and Lettuce and Eggplant Raised Bed.

Yesterday my wife's outdoor cat, a very likeable cat but one that does damage both to local birds and to my raised beds, decided to put those giant litter boxes I'd built for him to use, killing a eggplant seedling as he did so. Out came the poultry netting that I'd ordered  and just received thinking that such an event might be on the horizon. Hopefully it will also deter the squirrels that love to sample the eggplants and other vegetables the day before they're ready to pick. Above a view of our greens raised bed in background with Chard, Beet Greens and Dandelion Greens. In the foreground are the remaining eggplants (raised from seed so smaller than I'd like), some Arugula and heirloom lettuces.
Heirloom Lettuces.

And finally a photo of some of those heirloom lettuces, Forellenschluss and Amish Deer Tongue among others. They'll probably bolt and go to seed all too soon. But for now they make the best lunches in the world.

It's not often that I write about our garden. But it is a big part of our lives and the Seed Savers Exchange blog gave me an excuse to write about it. Now time to get back to art.

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