1 While I was at work in my New York office, something new and exciting was happening in my vegetable greenhouse.
2 Lots of delicious, organic greens were growing on one end - lettuces, spinach, radishes, and herbs.
3 More lettuces, mache and beets - everything was so lush and green.
4 Against the back wall, in the large black pots were the tomatoes - they also looked so healthy.
5 And on the other end, Chhiring was busy digging holes with a post hole digger for a cucumber trellis.
6 For all projects on the farm, I always encourage the use of materials we already have on hand. Chhiring was able to find suitable branches in the woodland.
7 The branches needed to be straight and sturdy, so they could support the structure.
8 Using a tamping bar, Chhiring compacted the soil in each of the holes, so they would be level.
9 It was important for the posts to be very strong and secure, so they could support the weight of a good, prolific harvest.
10 Each of the upright posts had a natural "V" shaped notch at one end. This was important because it would serve as a support for a cross branch. Chhiring trimmed the posts with a chainsaw.
11 Here was one post with its notch faced up.
12 Here was the other.
13 Across the top, Chhiring and Ryan secured an eight-nine foot branch into the notches.
14 Once the top bar was secured, post holes were dug for two diagonal branches measuring about 10-feet, with two feet underground. These diagonal pieces were two-feet longer than the base posts to create the necessary slant.
15 The space between the upright and the slanted posts was four-feet.
16 Each of the branches has about a two to four-inch radius.
17 One more diagonal post was secured in the center.
18 Next, Chhiring attached three horizontal branches across the front.
19 These horizontal pieces were two-feet apart.
20 He drilled pilot holes for the screws.
21 And used three-inch screws to secure all the branches to the appropriate posts.
22 Here was the structure - everything was very sturdy.
23 It was the perfect size for the space - two were planned for this end of the greenhouse.
24 Next, Ryan and Chhiring used plastic netting left over from another project that fit perfectly across the trellis. The netting was strong enough to support the weight of the hanging vegetables, and soft enough not to cut the delicate cucumber vines.
25 The holes of the netting were also wide enough to accommodate the growing plants.
26 Using a staple gun, Chhiring affixed the netting taut over the trellis frame.
27 This is very strong netting. It is the same netting I use to cover my American boxwood in winter.
28 All the ends of the cross bars were trimmed, so they were equal in length and looked neat and tidy.
29 Here is the finished trellis. The cucumber plants will be trained to grow up the front, and the cucumbers will hang down through the holes of the netting.
30 When it is time to harvest, the cucumbers will be pulled easily from the back of the frame.
31 In the adjacent space, Chhiring made one more trellis exactly like the first - making two allowed room enough for the hose and footpath in between them.
32 He dug the base and diagonal posts, and attached the cross bars.
33 He secured it all together with three-inch screws.
34 And he added the same durable netting.
35 The finished trellises looked wonderful - very exciting. Both pickling and regular sized cucumbers were planted in the space.
36 Chairing finished with a little raking to tidy up the soil underneath.
37 Ryan and Wilmer also planted arugula in this space, but because we do a lot of succession gardening - planting vegetables at different times to ensure a consistent harvest - it was okay to build the trellis over them. The arugula will have already been harvested by the time the cucumbers emerge and block any light from the soil below.
38 Thanks, Chhiring - great job! I can't wait to see how the cucumbers grow.