Reclaimed Wood Plant Supports
Organic gardening is usually narrowly defined as not using synthetic chemicals, but I think the definition should be expanded to include, among other ideas, resourcefulness. Making compost instead of stuffing leaves into bags and setting them out on the curb, using old concrete chunks as pavers, and constructing raised beds with reclaimed bricks all firmly fall into this category. The creative re-imagining of common materials helps reduce our contribution to the waste stream and makes our gardens more interesting. The versatile plant supports pictured in this post are the perfect example of resourcefulness. I spotted them in a lovely kitchen garden in Marin County and was impressed with how the gardener had turned ordinary yard waste and random bits of wood into plant supports that were beautiful and very functional.
The gardener created the teepee-like structures using tree trimmings and the pliable vines of pruned grapes. She wrapped chicken wire around the lower half to protect the small cucumber she had planted inside from her chickens, which range around in the garden as she works—though the wire could also certainly function as a climbing surface for cucumbers, small melons, peas, and beans. Even though I don’t have a crafty bone in my body, I’m planning on trying to recreate these trellises using trimming from the huge and unruly wisteria in our backyard and branches from a tree that needs trimming.
If your garage is anything like mine, it is full of spare bits of wood just waiting to be transformed into these simple structures, which were used to provide a scaffolding for beans and to enclose cherry tomatoes.
Four pieces of wood were simply driven into the ground. To form the cage, the gardener screwed in eyes, zig zagged wire through them, and wrapped chicken wire around the bottom of the frame. I really like this system because it is simple and also unobtrusive.