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Friday, March 13, 2015

Going vertical

Jizo is looking a little less lonely in his nest of violets.

We had a spate of rain and I took advantage of the changed conditions to see about getting some greens out to the garden.

These will be in the beds nearest the house in true kitchen garden fashion. Also they are vulnerable to slugs so they want to be inspected frequently.

Trellises have been in these upper beds for the last two years so it is time to have them in the lower garden. I have already set up the one for Sugar Snap peas (planted last week) and green beans (not yet!). I also need one for scarlet runners and cucumbers, maybe also some vining squash, and have gathered the necessary materials and set them out.

We have fifty foot beds, so it's three tee posts per trellis, 25 feet apart, and about 40-48 poles. I select poles from the coppice and cut them near the ground. If they're too tall for the job, which should be ten feet for scarlet runners, eight for everything else, I just firewood the stump end until they're the right height. This year's new poles are about 2/3 hazel and 1/3 bigleaf maple.

Garden authors tell you that going vertical like this saves space, but a thing I like about it is it cuts back on the sunshine on the adjacent beds, cooling the earth in July through September and reducing sunburn on the crops. That's getting to be a consideration here.

Not until the poles are up do I bother limbing them, and even then I only cut the branches that reach into the path, mostly so as not to put an eye out. The others might as well stay and provide the climbers all that much more choice in climbing. Plants like to be catered to as much as anybody.

One might point out to me that the hazels shown here are so tall I won't be able to reach the beanpods. I would then reply that I'll be able to reach about half during the eating harvest. The ones "out of reach" are for seed -- for next year.

God willin' an' th' crick don't rise.


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