Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grow Up!

Over the last few months I've been participating in a very cool urban agriculture project known as the Community Orchard of West Seattle. Today, I attended another class in the series. This one was called, "Grow Up". And no, the class wasn't about me, it was all about using vertical space in the garden by constructing simple do-it-yourself supports like trellises and garden stakes. Most of the material for the projects discussed came from bamboo, branches, and hardware store supplies. I discovered it is really easy to build these things with stuff you already have growing in the yard now and by rummaging through a basement. Our lively instructor Lorene of Planted at Home brought pieces from her own garden to share with us. She showcased a bamboo ladder trellis, bamboo garden stakes, and a cloche (boxed structure to cover plants) constructed from branches. It was great! So if you have tomatoes, beans, peas, or any vine that is longing to stretch and reach there are plenty of creative methods out there to try.

I have a south facing patio that I plan to utilize with these techniques. I'm starting seeds from scratch and plan to use the railings and posts on my deck in addition to twine and basic trellises to grow food in my small space. I'm really excited about the possibility to go to rummage sales and salvage stores to find creative ways to support my plants. One person in the class today talked about an old patio umbrella she was going to transform into a trellis to shade her deck. Now that's what I'm talking about! I really like the idea of using what you have to create an attractive edible landscape. Today was a lot of fun and I enjoyed getting involved more in my community. Below are several pictures from the work party that followed the class where I and several volunteers built a bamboo trellis of our own. Others placed stakes for the orchard trees and planted strawberries and herbs. The orchard is well on its way!

Intro photo credit: New College Farm Program

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