March 2, 2009

pea trellis

Our latest issue of This Old House featured an article about building a variety of plant supports from apple tree trimmings, and since we just happened to have a giant out-of-control apple tree in the back yard, we decided to give it a try.

Here's what the poor thing looked like after Gus gave the tree a "trim".

Thank you for your sacrifice, noble tree. Your parts will not go un-utilized.

The magazine article has instructions for a variety of intricate structures, all woven from the trimmed branches and really quite beautiful. We decided to try making one for the raised bed where our peas will go, and attempted to reproduce the diamond-pattern trellis that they featured. 

They did some fancy stuff to theirs (like measure), that we didn't bother with, so ours is a little more "organic" looking but no less worthy of a magazine spread, in my opinion.

We also added some horizontal bars because it seemed like we had some pretty big spaces going on and we wanted to make sure our little peas had plenty of places to grab onto. This morning I finally got the plants in the ground, and hopefully we'll have a nice healthy harvest in a couple of months. 

So far, we've got two different varieties of peas in there- a flat pod Chinese Snow Pea and Sugar Ann, an edible round pod type. There's still room on one side for a few more plants, so I think I'll add a green bean to the mix. We're also planning to take advantage of all the great real estate that's left along the sides of the bed, we just don't know what's going in there yet.

I love being able to grow something right in our back yard. Last year was our first attempt and we pretty much just ended up with a ton of lettuce, but now that we have a better idea of what to do I think our efforts will be more fruitful. And by next summer, our little monkey can get out there and enjoy the dirt with us. Can't wait for that!