About Gardening: Trellising

by Mira Dessy

Hi Mira!
I am starting my first garden this year and something is actually growing! Now I have lts of questions about holding up these plants. After planting I am finding out that plants other than tomatoes need to be held up. The ones I am wondering about are peas, beans and cucumbers. I need an easy way to add support after the fact for peas. Also do small cucumbers need to be held up or can they vine out? And last, how do you know if beans are bush or pole? We just took beans out of the kitchen, kidney and navy, and strted to sprout them so I don't have a seed packet to refer to. Thanks for all yor help!

Dear Anne,
When trellising plants I find it is best to use biodegradeable twine to hold up the plants. Some plants like beans, peas and cornishon type cucumbers may not need to be tied onto their supports as they are climbing plants and will tist around their supports. For heavier fruiting plants (like normal cucumbers) you may need to use twine. If you are trellising melons and very heavy fruits (yes you can do this) one of the things that works really well is pantyhose. Simply support the fruit in the crotch of the pantyhose and tie the legs onto the support.

Unfortunately the only way to find out if your beans are pole beans or bush beans is to wait until they get bigger. I usually plant my pole beans in the middle of tomato cages so that I do not have to create a trellis for them. They simply climb around on the tomato cage. These cages are usually $1 each and are reusable year after year. You might want to put some around your beans just in case, then you won't have to worry.

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