Thursday, March 4, 2010

My new trellis from trash

Treasures from dumpsters, or friends that know one's taste in potential "trash is treasure" items, can be the catalysts for projects one may not have thought of out of the blue. For instance, I'd never considered having a trellis in my sweet potato/rape patch out back. But some months ago my friend Tim dropped off some long steel pipes, and last Friday, my friend Pat and I cut down my scary monster 'Mermaid' rose, which liberated an ornate metal corner that my neighbor Gerry gave me a few years back when a windstorm destroyed his newly-erected mosquito garden tent structure. Once I glanced at them Tuesday, I had a brainstorm, one that did not take long to enact.

I set the trellis in place, placed the metal pipes against the frame and pushed them into the soil, then used a piece of green Christmas light wire to tie the trellis to the center pipe as it was a VERY windy day. I stood atop a ladder and used an old Tampa street brick to pound the three pipes down deeply, mindful this is hurricane country. Then I used more pieces of Christmas light wire to tie the trellis to all three pipes.

Then I dug a hole in the center of the trellis big enough to hold a 5 gallon Water Wise Container Garden (the concept of which has SLASHED my water use and proven to be a total gamechanger with both veggies and roses). Funny how each time I bury a 5 gallon WWCG I generate almost THREE buckets of sand! Once the bucket was lowered into the hole, I did my usual lasagna-layering of dead stalks (cassava in this case) to act as wicks and air channelers once they decay into lignin, a small chunk of concrete atop them to as a perpetual calcium source that MAY discourage nematodes, some horse manure, compost from the chicken scratch path, and some of the sand I dug out of the hole. I mulched that with fresh horse stall sweepings rich in urine.

Once it warms up a bit, I will use this free trellis and free Water Wise Container Garden to test a kind of squash I've never grown that goes by many names, including Zuchetta rampicante. I had bought the seeds playfully some months back assuming it is related to Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) but it turns out to be a form of Cucurbita moschata, a species that THRIVES for me each summer IF there is sufficient moisture....the 5 gallon Water Wise Container Garden should assure that, plus, if they need to, the roots can escape through the several large holes drilled on the sides of the bucket 3 inches from the bottom to provide a damp zone our sandy soil can't provide.

I am still having trouble posting pics in sequence here as I think the software reverses it....and I have a hard time thinking backwards! But you will get the idea I am sure. Total time to do this was less than an hour. I will probably plant Scarlet Runner Beans in the soil at the base of the trellis for additional beauty and food, and will just make it a point to handwater them with rainwater and manure/fish corpse tea.

Turning trash into treasure is a blast....and does wonders to save money. Enjoy, John