- Old fencing cut into panels, circled together, and the ends tied together to create tomato cages (these are actually the best ones I’ve ever had).
- Old bed frame with extra chicken fencing tied to it as a trellis.
- Pool ladder as a cucumber trellis.
What I’ve learned over the years is that metal trellises are not good for tender vines. They heat up in our extreme Texas heat and cause the plant to wither and often die. So, this year I enlisted the help of my family.
Our property is surrounded by cedars. I actually love cedar (the wood, that is). Cedar trees are detrimental to the environment. They suck up all the water and create phyto-toxins in the soil that prevent other plants or trees from growing around them. Unfortunately, Texas is covered with cedars (which are not an indigenous species). They’re an invasive tree s0 we try to remove all that we can. We use the wood for firewood (makes extremely hot fires) and the branches for kindling. My father-in-law used the wood for handmade walking sticks. Really old and straight cedar trees make wonderful fence posts. It is also an extremely hard wood and is rot resistant. We’ve used several cedar logs under our home for extra support (we have a pier and beam home).
This year for our garden I wanted to use these cedar branches to make a tepee for the cucumbers and also as support for the pole beans.
Johnny (my sweet hubby) looped off 6 branches and James (my sweet son) trimmed them with his machete. With a little bit of bailing wire I tied three branches together and secured them in the dirt for the tepee. So far it’s working great. The cucumbers have not started to vine just yet, but the tepee is all set up for when they do. And, we’ve had quite a bit of rain and hail and the tepee is still standing strong.
For the pole beans, we took two of the other poles and cut them in half (they were quite long). We stuck them in the ground and pounded them in just a bit with a hammer. Using extra baling string from hay bales , I tied one end of the string to one pole and the other end to the other pole. I did this with the second set of cedar poles and the rest of the baling string. Now, the pole beans will have something to cling to as they grow.
The beauty of this simple project is that it cost us no money and we used items that we had readily available. If you don’t have cedar trees or baling string, find what you do have and make use of it. Gardening shouldn’t cost a lot of money. You’d be surprised at what you find laying around the house (or yard) that may be exactly what you need.