Monday, June 15, 2009

Training Up the Peas

There are so many possibilities for building vertical frames to use in your garden. This is really the only thing that I have personally tried--mainly because it seemed like the easiest way. We built this last year and it is holding up extremely well, but if I were to make something again I would use metal or steel. Possibly some sort of strong wood would work also, but there is always the worry of the wood splitting. The plastic is working well for us now, though. We'll see how many years we can get out of it.

All you need to build this for your garden is PVC pipe, found at your local hardware store. We used three long leg pieces (the sides are about 6 1/2' and the top is about 4 1/2') and two elbow pieces for the sides. We hammered each side into the dirt on opposite sides of the garden box. Because it's plastic, and very lightweight, we were able to move the frame to the other side of the garden this year so that we could rotate plants.

These pictures were taken on June 4th of this year, and already I need new pictures of my garden. With all of this rain we've been having, I am finding that my garden is flourishing more than ever. These are peas that have been trained up the frame using a heavy string. You can tell when the peas are ready to be tied up to the frame by the cute little tendrils they get on the ends of the vines. They curl up and attach to anything they can get to, so I actually don't have to tie all of them up. They do the job for me, for the most part! The ones I did tie to the string, I just cut up some old nylons into strips and tied a loose knot. (you can buy knee highs at Walmart for 25 cents)

You would not believe how tall they've grown since I tied them! They are half way up the string now, and there are about 8 extra pea plants that have sprouted. (I love the late sprouters!)

My Dad has an amazing garden, and all he did for his peas was put two trellises on either side of the row of peas and they kind of just make their way up the trellis. I will try that one day, for sure!

For me, this will work because my cucumber plants are close enough to be trained up the same frame next to the peas. Last year I trained my green beans up with the peas, and that worked great!

As a side note, my giant Dill's Atlantic Giant Pumpkin plant is doing amazingly well. I tried last year with little success. It has always been my dream to grow giant pumpkins for everyone to admire on Halloween. Someday... Anyway, I had some advice from some seasoned farmers. They said to place rotting matter into the base of the soil before planting the seedling. I put about 3 rotting bananas in, and have since stuck a couple of bananas in the soil next to the plant about every other week. It is growing so much better than last year!

My aunt also told me that she would pour about half a cup of milk in the soil every other week, and her pumpkins grew well doing that. I think I'll try that as well.

I'll take more pictures of my garden and post them soon!

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