DIY – Pea Trellis

trellis April 2018

The finished project…

Conventional wisdom (and instructions on seed packets) say plant peas (and sweet peas)  as early as possible – don’t worry about last frost dates or any such nonsense.  Peas don’t mind.  OK, I procrastinated this year, hemming and hawing, worried about rabbits, effort vs reward, location….I had any number of reasons (excuses) why I didn’t get any peas in the ground.

Finally got my act in gear when I was gathering all the maple saplings I had cut late last fall and left scattered in the woods through winter.  Maple is such great wood, I didn’t want to just toss the 10 – 15 foot stems into the fire pit or even chop them up into kindling.  I wanted to use them for something first, then chop them into kindling.

Riffing off last year’s Morning Glory tuteur project, I decided to build a small trellis to stand against the house and grow sweet peas, regular peas and a late cucumber vine or two.  My better half did much of the work, chopping the saplings to size and tying up most of the criss crossing branches.

maple pea trellis April 2018

being built…I wanted to keep the small branches at the top – it looks interesting and will provide support for any extra tall pea plants

I added a few extra branches and then ‘planted’ the whole thing against a west wall, next to the rain barrel (for easy watering).

twine and wire joints on trellis

At first we just used this jute twine but realized we couldn’t get it tight and sturdy enough; added the plastic coated wire for extra support.

For mulch I used chopped up stems and stalks of last year’s perennials (instead of hauling them to the compost pile) – if you look closely here you can see bits of Sedum spectabile.

Sedum to be used as mulch

Instead of cutting down these Sedum stalks and hauling to the compost pile, I chopped them up on site…

Sedum mulch and trellis

If you look closely you can see chopped up Sedum spectabile.

I think I’ll add some short buckthorn stems next – in an attempt to deter rabbits from nibbling on the shoots as they appear.  I’ll let you know if that works!

 

Compost Fever!

One of the garden chores I get a lot of satisfaction from is the annual compost screening.  Usually I’ll wade into the compost a few times every month to turn it over, aerate it, help the insects and microbes do their decomposition bit.  This year; however, nature had other plans – I’ve posted previously how pie pumpkin seeds from last year germinated and basically took over.  This indicated two things:  the pile didn’t get hot enough to kill the seeds, and, whatever was happening within that pile of kitchen scraps, leaves and garden clippings had created a really nutritious growing medium!

I harvested the pumpkins a few weeks ago (had to make Thanksgiving pies!) and it was time to see what was there.  I’ve had for many years a compost screen that fits nicely over a wheelbarrow – it’s easy to build with two-by-fours (or should that be written as 2×4’s?) and wire screening from a building supply store.  I shovel three or four scoops from the pile onto the screen then swipe a trowel through it several times, which sends the decomposed material into the wheelbarrow.  What’s left gets dumped onto this year’s pile for further composting.

After a few hour’s work I’m left with an empty slot ready for next year, a growing pile of this year’s raw material being transformed and a nice pile of rough, crumbly compost, ready for top dressing beds or adding to bulb planting holes!

Composter Oct 11 2017 aComposter Oct 11 2017 cComposter Oct 11 2017 dComposter Oct 12 2017 c