1 A couple years ago, we extended the vegetable garden to include a second space for more crops. Because we had the room, I decided it would be nice to build a long cucumber trellis. These are all the wooden pieces for our structure.
2 Chhiring is busy digging the holes with a post hole digger for our outdoor trellis - this one is a larger version of the one built in the vegetable greenhouse.
3 Using a tamping bar, Chhiring compacted the soil in each of the holes, so they would be level.
4 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 our wood pile. He cut them to size - about 12 to 14 feet long.
5 Each of the upright posts has a natural "V" shaped notch at one end. This is important because it would serve as a support for a cross branches.
6 The branches need to be straight and sturdy, so they could support the structure. Twine is used to make sure all the branches are level with each other.
7 Across the top, Chhiring secured long branches into the notches of the upright supports.
8 Once the top bar was secured, post holes were dug for diagonal branches. These diagonal pieces were two-feet longer than the base posts to create the necessary slant. The space between the upright and the slanted posts is about four-feet.
9 Each of the branches has a two to four-inch radius.
10 Next, Chhiring attached horizontal supports across the front.
11 This is the trellis from the back. The slanted branches are placed at about a 45-degree angle.
12 We used left over bamboo for these horizontal pieces.
13 We use a lot of natural jute twine for our projects around the farm. Jute twine is available at many craft stores, garden centers and online.
14 Chhiring used jute twine to secure the bamboo to the appropriate posts.
15 Twine is also used to secure the branches to the upright supports.
16 And, to secure the horizontal branches to the posts at the top of the trellis.
17 The bamboo poles overlapped each other about a foot.
18 This is the completed base for the trellis - a very simple structure that will keep the cucumber vines suspended, so the cucumbers can hang down nicely.
19 Chhiring uses plastic netting across the trellis. The netting is strong enough to support the weight of the hanging vegetables, and soft enough not to cut the delicate cucumber vines.
20 The holes of the netting are also wide enough to accommodate the growing plants.
21 Using a staple gun, Chhiring affixes the netting taut over the trellis frame.
22 This is very strong netting - the same netting I use to cover my American boxwood in winter.
23 Chhiring staples the netting along the top and sides to make sure it is secure. The cucumber plants will be trained to grow up the front, and the cucumbers will hang down through the holes.
24 When it is time to harvest, the cucumbers will be pulled easily from the back of the frame.
25 The finished trellises look wonderful - very exciting. The plants in the foreground are artichokes.
26 Chhiring finished with a little raking to tidy up the soil underneath.
27 Hay is spread across the space and around the beds to help retain soil moisture, and prevent weeds.
28 The trellis is ready for our cucumber crop. Several cucumber varieties were planted here including 'Marketmore', 'Tasty', 'Muncher', 'County Fair', 'Soarer', 'Palace Pride', 'Jackson Classic', 'Iznik', and 'Boston'. When planted from seed, cucumbers take 50 to 80 days to reach harvest stage. I can't wait.