Sprouts Aplenty

On my most recent trip to the garden, I was happy to discover that the cucumbers are still with us. There are no new casualties to report, no signs of the dreaded bacterial wilt that’s spread by the notorious cucumber beetles, and only a few beetles were spotted. They were quickly dispatched.

One of the main features of the garden is its compact size, so a lot of the planning & planting involves the use of bio-intensive spacing and other space-saving techniques. This explains how I’ve managed to squeeze 28 tomato plants in a relatively small space, for example. (I’ll be sure to let everyone know how this turns out!)

Having a smaller garden also gave me pause in planning for our cucumbers and pole beans. They’re a fairly large part of the garden and they’re also typically space-hungry — often annexing any available space they can find. To hopefully ward off spacing issues, I’m hoping to employ some space-saving trellising ideas I’ve read about in various sources.

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Now that it looks as though we may have a few cucumbers survive the insect onslaught, we’re moving ahead with assembling the trellises. As you can see, we’ve constructed a frame made of 3/4-inch PVC pipe (using slip & thread joints so that we can take them apart and use them again next year). In about another week, we’re going to attach some cheap fencing to the frames so that the vines have space to climb up.

This should be an interesting experiment. The plants are spaced about 18-inches apart and the varietal is of a relatively compact size (suitable even for containers). The vines are supposed to reach no more than about 5ft. From what I’m told from the pro-trellising crowd, cucumbers grown on trellises often produce longer, straighter fruits with fewer pest problems. I suppose I’ll either prove or disprove this theory, this summer.

IMG_0369The pole beans — like indeterminate tomatoes — will keep growing taller and taller all season long and (God willing) will continue producing IMG_0370beans until frost. Their trellising will be an interesting system of vertical strings tied to horizontal wires that are suspended by posts at either end of each row. Already we're discovering that the flimsy posts I picked out are going to be the bane of our existence (the beginnings of the pole bean assembly is to the left of the cucumber trellises in the picture centered above).

Fortunately, we have some leftover PVC pipe pieces that are the perfect size for straightening out that mess! We hope to finish assembling these soon. As you can see, the beans are coming up more and more each day!

And, to add that needed bit of cheer to the end of a muggy day of gardening, I noticed that our pumpkins and sunflowers have sprouted. Of course, I also noticed that the cucumber beetles were eyeing the tender, naive pumpkin sprouts lustily. I quickly covered them with summerweight fabric to keep the bugs out (after carefully checking each plant for bugs). So, you probably won’t be seeing the pumpkin sprouts for a couple weeks since they’re in the witness protection program.

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~ by Jason on June 1, 2010.

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