TRELLISES AND CLIMBING FRAMES
Some plants just love to climb high so that their leaves and stems can soak up the sun from all directions. It also helps to keep their vegetables off the ground so that they stay clean and out of the reach of crawling insects. Vegetables that love to climb include beans, peas, melons, zucchinis, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
To give climbing vegetables something to climb, gardeners build trellises or climbing frames out of all sorts of material such as wire, bamboo stakes, wooden stakes and string. Even old gates and wire fences are perfect for climbing vegetables over. They can be all different shapes, just like the climbing frames that you play on down in the playground.
To make frames like those in the picture below, get a friend to help.
- Gather together a whole lot of bamboo sticks that are all the same length and that are at least 100cm long.
- Also have a long piece of bamboo that is the same length as what you want the trellis to be.
- Cut some pieces of string which are all 25cm long to hold it all together.
- Take two sticks and lay them on the ground next to each other and use the string to tie them together at a spot about 10cm from the top. Repeat this with the rest of the sticks.
- Take one of the pairs of sticks and keeping the tied end at the top, pull the bottom ends apart and push them into the ground until they are firm. They will form the shape of an X.
- Ask your friend to do the same at the other end. Make sure that you both have an extra piece of string in your pockets.
- Take the very long piece of bamboo and lay it horizontally across the top of both X’s. Tie it on very well.
- Now, use the rest of the pairs of bamboo to slip in under the horizontal piece so that it forms a trellis like in the picture.
SMARTY PLANTS TIP
When tying vegetable stems onto stakes and trellises, use something that is stretchy. Vegetable stems keep growing and thickening so string or wire might cut into them as they grow. Cut up pieces of mum’s old stockings are perfect for tying up vegetables but just make sure you ask her if you can have them first!