Among many goals we have here at Luna’s Trail, discovering simple ways to manage various farm challenges is high on the list. If sustainability is part of our mission, we must discover low-cost, low-impact and low-labor methods for accomplishing various tasks. In this case, the task at hand is providing trellis support for cucumber plants. Cucumbers, as most of you probably know, sprawl and wind their way across whatever landscape is presented. Although this is fine, it can become challenging to search out the fruit in an unkempt mass of leaves and trailing along the ground can also lead to higher risk of mold and disease for the plant. Enter trellises. A simple search of google images will present hundreds of options for trellises, if not more. The idea for this one came from such a search, although in place of milled boards, we opted for pine trees we had thinned from over-dense growth this past spring. The project required only four ingredients:
- 4 pine trees approximately 15′ long
- 20 zipties ( the uv resistant kind are best )
- 3″ exterior screws
- a drill of some sort
I suppose a fifth ingredient could be reasonably included … a dose of patience. Regardless, this project took less than an hour from start to finish and in my opinion looks great. Once the cucumbers grow a bit, we will string twine vertically every 6-9 inches from the bottom to the top in order to provide support for the cukes. I’ll try to post pictures as the season progresses or, better yet, come by to check things out in person.
For the record, that unkempt mass of greenery under the trellis is a cover crop blend called Ray’s Crazy Mix. We sowed it as soon as we formed these planter beds in order to stabilize the soil and provide some resistance to the drying effects of the hot June sun. We will cut it back as the cucumbers spread. Sustainable practices, it turns out, require an adjustment to what one considers beautiful. This somewhat unkempt mess reduced our need for watering and when cut will provide a boost of nitrogen to the plants succeeding it.