Before the Last Frost (3 weeks)

by - March 16, 2018

We finally got our spring weather back after a cold week, and I went overboard digging in the yard. I've found that in our fenced vegetable garden, there just isn't enough room to grow melons. I've  noticed that the neighbors who successfully have grown them have long vines that trail out. For several summers, my vines have not grown long and the leaves have been dwarfed. I'm hoping this new sunny patch will do well. I went ahead and planted a row of purple and red potatoes from Trader Joe's that were growing soft and starting to grow leaves on my counter top, and I will come back with pumpkin and watermelon transplants after the last frost date.

Using Trellises

There are some vines that I want to keep within the fence because deer will mow them down otherwise. Varieties that I grow vertically are pole beans, cucumbers, trombetta squash and other climbing squash, and peas. 

I found these white fan trellises at Habitat ReStore. They were $10 each but 20% off because they had been there a few weeks. I didn't measure them, but they are screwed into a 4ft tall fence. Similar trellises at Lowes are $15 each. My youngest son and I planted a Renee's Garden variety of pea that is supposed to grow 8ft tall along these. Just today I spotted spouts coming up.

My favorite corner of the garden started out as the "bee and butterfly corner", but has since spread down the fence line in either direction. I purchased 3 metal trellises over 10 years ago. They have rusted a fair amount, so a couple years ago I spray painted them a beautiful turquoise. The one in the bee and butterfly corner grows a mix of Carolina Jessamine, clematis, and a climbing rose that made a miracle come-back long after I thought I had killed it.

I used the other two metal trellises to grow cucumbers and tie up tomatoes last year. I've also used cattle fencing to tie up tomatoes in that same area.

I don't know where I found this black lattice obelisk, but chances are it was also a Habitat ReStore or another thrift store find.

The most versatile material in our garden has been Steel Remesh. I bend these 10ft sheets into hoops to make tunnels and domes and use them to grow peas in the spring and beans in the summer. When the boys were little, they loved riding their trikes and pushing trucks under them.

If you have a friend with bamboo in their yard, chances are they will happily let you come and cut some down to use as a teepee. This is great for pole beans as they need little training. The only problem is reaching the beans once the vines get to the top.

Tasks for this week

  • Check out your local thrift stores for potential trellis materials.
  • Before you set up trellises, consider what they will be shading out during the day.

What to plant this week

You can start the following indoors: cucumbers, melons, okra, pumpkins, and squash.

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