Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Project House Update: Ghetto Trellis

In a spur of the moment decision a couple of weeks ago, I bought a seedling kit at Target. It was only $8 and seeds were like $1 a pack, so I thought I could grow a bunch of types of produce for Turtle to eat. Being so cheap and given how bad I am with plants, I didn't expect much to grow.

Man, was I wrong!

Two types of lettuce quickly took over each box. Then, as if overnight, my sweet peas shot up, out of the dirt packets (don't buy the kit I did from Target, it's just crap. Almost none of my dirt packets behaved like they were supposed to.), and inches into the air. It took a couple more days, but my cilantro and parseley sprouts finally emerged, too. Almost every single pod had seedlings.

And then panic set in. I had plants. A lot of them. And absolutely nowhere to put them.

First, I found this idea on Pinterest. It lets you turn a plastic bottle into a planter. I didn't have any big 2 liter bottles of soda, but I did have a couple of water bottles...

But when I say I had a couple, I seriously only had two water bottles. So it didn't really solve my problem. Even though it was risky because they are so tender and fresh, I decided the rest of the sweet peas would have to fend for themselves in the garden. However, I could give them a little protection in the form of chicken wire. I have enough of it sitting around from the previous owners' landscaping.

No, this isn't how they landscaped. This is how we piled it when we undid theirs...
I figured I could unroll one of these bundles, prop it up against the wall in the garden, and plant the peas under it. That way, when the grew larger and stronger, they could climb it as a trellis.

So, I transplanted the majority of my sweet peas. Easy stuff, except for minding the roots that were already growing out the bottom of my little tray. Then I propped the chicken wire up against the wall and disaster struck. The pre-cut lengths are just short enough that they can't reach the top of the wall and the soil at the same time! I tried just leaning it against the wall, but no matter how I tried to flatten it, it just coiled up and crushed my sweet peas underneath it. I decided I had to anchor it to the top of the wall. It's just bent over the top of the wall, but it does grip to it remarkably well.

But now, it doesn't cover the peas at all! And it's inches from the peas, so even if they grow, odds are they would flop over and never reach it. However, I am an engineer for a reason, so combine some string and skewers and you get this!

The skewers support the peas as they acclimate and once they grow, they can follow the string up to the chicken wire.

So my peas aren't doing so well, but a record heat wave for April in Arizona definitely isn't helping (I may have to start watering twice a day). Hopefully they'll rebound and I'll have a pretty wall of sweet peas until Turtle eats all he can reach, probably including the base stems...

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