The twig cucumber trellis

Garden plans appear to work for other people, and I am developing a theory–just in its infancy but coming along you know– that there are miscellaneous so-called Rules of Nature which do not apply to life as I know it. And when I forget that, well then I get into terrible situations like the current traffic jam of plants which has come into being in spite of my absolute best efforts at planning.

(Note: I take full responsibility for forgetting that planning doesn’t work.)

So I planted snow peas because Mr O thinks snow peas are about as wonderful as a vaccine against cancer if it existed which it doesn’t but snow peas do. So as I told the dog, “The snow peas can grow on the cucumber trellis because they are Early Plants and will be Finished before the cucumbers even dream, in their wildest cucumber dreams, of venturing out into the world.” (For the record, the dog nodded.)

Max agreed

As it happened, the snow pea vines came up late then got enormous…

snow peas on cucumber trellis…and right now today they are just barely beginning to produce actual pea pods– as they luxuriate there against the cucumber trellis, mostly reading romance novels and gossiping.

Meantime, back in the greenhouse, the cucumbers grew tendrils and giant aggressive leaves:

incarcerated cucumber plants[Disregard the common gardening lie that cucumbers do not transplant well from pots. That’s wrong and stupid and someone will surely pay, karmically speaking.]

To recap: the peas were happily beginning to produce on the cucumber trellis and the cucumber plants were tipping over and ready to be planted to the garden on what they feel is, by right of birth, Their Trellis.

The tension mounted between the two plant groups, and I feared there could be violence, but at the same time I could not imagine transplanting five-foot tall pea plants. (They would of course compost well but Mr O will have his salad snow peas.)

It was a horrible dilemma which demanded immediate action, and you will be thrilled to hear that as a solution Max the terrier and I began a systematic search for material from which to make an emergency additional trellis, so exciting. We found no more bed springs but some pruning of tree limbs had occurred and we built a new twig cucumber trellis.

twig cucumber trellisNow I will be the first to observe that it somehow brings to mind antlers and does appear structurally questionable but in truth it is quite sturdy, with all braces anchored together with my best creative knotting which is to say each knot it different because as you may know I failed as a Brownie so was never promoted to Girl Scout either– but maybe only Boy Scouts learn knots anyway, I don’t know.

twig vegetable trellisAlso I did read Two Years Before the Mast yet I didn’t learn about rigging knots or even about getting the masts straight but trust me the twig arbor is quite sound and somewhat beyond picturesque, more like grotesque maybe… (I will not be creating a poll for opinions on this.)

The weather is still crazy-cold at night but there simply comes a time when young cucumber plants must be booted out of the safe greenhouse and stuck into the earth and told to get on with it because the pickle crock is empty and waiting.

And today was that day.

cucumber plants on twig trellisYou can see them huddled there together. I even added a few more vertical branches because I knew it couldn’t look worse and if everyone had their own branch surely the whole climbing thing would go more smoothly. It was quite fun all told, and the sunny afternoon was lovely.

Now here’s a closer image of the baby cucumber plants because I wanted you to see them well before they all die tonight when the temperature drops 30 degrees.

doomed cucumber plantsAren’t they cute? (I’ve actually named them all: I call each one Cupcake.)

In better news, the clematis vines have danced forth from the cold earth into a veritable neurosis of bloom!

Clematis "Ice Blue"The one above is called “Ice Blue” and you can see its pretty blue stripes and yes there are some kind of speckly bits too which I didn’t notice before… I must remember to vacuum the flowers before I take pictures.

Here are Japanese irises that I moved last fall. They hadn’t bloomed in maybe eight years in dry shade and here they are all glorious blue with that cool white edge– so pretty it was worth the wait–and quite dust-free too.

Japanese Iris


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in Max the Westie, stuff for your garden that isn't plants, vegetable garden and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to The twig cucumber trellis

  1. Hmm. I think you misread Max. That looks like a blank-eyed stare, similar to the ones my 4-year old nephews often give me which culminated in one of them looking at me blankly when I spoke of my “evil genius” over supper and drew the question, “What was it that made you the way you are?”

    As if I were a teenager, and he a mature 50…

    Those snow peas, they are asking for war from those cucumbers once they see what’s what and that their trellis (by birthright of being cukes) has been usurped (love that word!)

    It might be your camera angles, but the trellising for the cucumbers appears to be made by Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. Not so sure your own Captain Hook, Millie, might not agree!

    That white rose lurking behind your “dusty” clematis (has all routine been discarded in the PNW?) is very beautiful. Do you have a cultivar name you would like to share?

    Also, with regard to the Lost Boys Construction Company, how does this square with the VGBP? I’m thinking this cucumber trellising it is in violation of several line items of said plan and may get you several injunctions filed on behalf of the underage cucumbers, most likely by Kininvie. To say nothing of placing the young cucumber children in Cucumber Protective Services exposing them to abuse in the form of cold nights outdoors.

    And those lazy snow peas, not working, sitting around reading romance novels, instead of putting out snow pea pods, yet taking advantage of the birthright of the cucumbers!

    Truly, civilization as we know it is crumbling.

    • linniew says:

      I surely could use some boys, lost or otherwise, to help me around here so send them along.
      But Rachelle, what did you say made you the way you are? xo L

      • linniew says:

        And I forgot to say that the white rose behind the clematis is a mock orange with a double flower. I like how it crowds the parlor window so we can see the flowers from inside the house too.

      • I thought for a moment…TV…my parents…books…life…? I decided to let it go as rhetorical, as if a 4 year old would ask a rhetorical question… and just launched into another nursery song about black death and plague.

  2. Jeannine says:

    Funny story and the clematis looks great! Jeannine

  3. kininvie says:

    I’m a great fan of sticks held together with incompetent knots, and I greatly admire your emergency trellis as the perfect example of how to prop something up in a hurry without worrying about the aesthetics. You do seem to grow a lot of things with tendrils though. I’m certain there’s a Freudian interpretation to be had. I could enlarge on that, and say a lot of interesting things about suppressed desires, but I won’t, as you couldn’t afford my fee.
    I love that Japanese iris. I don’t suppose you have a name for it? No? thought not. Why don’t you write these things down? BTW That clematis is beautiful too. Was it one of you miraculous cuttings? PS Cupcake is not a good name for a cucumber.

    • linniew says:

      I must object to “incompetent” in regard to my knots because they are functioning in a perfectly adequate knot manner but at the same time I will bask in your admiration of my aesthetically questionable design maybe. As to tendrils, they are on the PLANTS and I did not design the PLANTS so you must take that up with you know Who. But I do wonder what your fee is and for what…

      The Japanese iris most certainly has a name, I just don’t happen to know what it is. (I could send a chunk of the root in exchange for a nice hedgehog.) And I didn’t grow that clematis from a cutting but I have moved it every winter for two years now so you see moving things isn’t so very bad. And just to show my sensitivity to your concerns I want you to know that I have changed the names of all the cucumbers– well all but one which I will secretly continue to call Cupcake but since you don’t know which one it is well it shouldn’t bother you quite so much. See how I look after you? -L

  4. Lyn says:

    Max may have nodded, but I suspect that’s just because he knows your determination to do what you want anyway, and he was just humoring you. I must disagree with Kininvie, because I find your new trellis very aesthetically pleasing, like a contemporary sculpture. Or not, because actually I don’t like very much contemporary sculpture, come to think of it. I do hope your cukes don’t die overnight after you have gone to so much trouble to give them emergency accommodation. It would be quite ungrateful of them.

    • linniew says:

      Dear Lyn,
      Yes Max knows to agree, it leads to snacks and stuff.

      The cucumber plants are twining around the trellis limbs so I guess they have emotionally bonded with the structure and also not died.

      I have hope.

  5. Cathy says:

    Linnie, you never fail to make me chuckle! Love your twig designs!! You’ve given me some inspiration for the cucumbers and squash I have growing on our deck!

  6. Susan says:

    I think your trellis is beautiful. I’m a big fan of quirky.

    • kininvie says:

      Ah, ‘quirky’ What a perfect description! Says it all without giving any cause for offence!

    • linniew says:

      Oh Susan. I just thought of something. What I thought of is getting my twig trellis its own Twitter account–what do you think? (My dog has 273 followers as of today– surely a trellis could do better.) Now see what your kind words have wrought?

      • Susan says:

        My very proper in laws spend a lot of time laughing nervously at some of my exploits. Now you’ve given me this impish idea of signing something up for twitter. How could you? I try to be good, I really do.

        • linniew says:

          Oh yes indeed I think you should definitely sign up a thing on Twitter. Dogs are great, but I have also wondered about a hydrangea, or possibly a hinge. Let me know and I will be certain that Max follows the account! (Don’t worry I won’t breath a word to your in-laws.)

  7. b-a-g says:

    Your clematis are lovely – now I understand your obsession with the cuttings.
    I have never eaten snow peas, but I trust Mr. O’s taste. I hope you scored some brownie points for constructing the twig thing, even if your knots weren’t to spec.

    • linniew says:

      Hi b-a-g
      I guess it takes an engineer (that would be you) to completely understand and appreciate the intricate design and attention to detail in that trellis. And I must tell you, without diagonals it was fold-up time (that’s a professional trellis-design term) so really I learned quite a lot. But nothing about knots.

  8. Katie says:

    Hi Linnie!
    Your trellis looks very sturdy indeed. Resourceful girl, you. My question is this: how did you come about that nice empty bed in May?

    • linniew says:

      Hi Katie
      I’m afraid just this minute out night temps have modified to decent. So yesterday I tossed out the tomato plants and today the summer squash. Most all the beds are full now… I think ‘resourceful’ might be more dependably positive than ‘quirky’ but I’m still doing researching about that.

  9. Linnie, I was at the edge of my seat while reading through the snow pea/cucumber turf war scene, then West Side Story seeped into my brain. It was difficult to pick sides. If the peas were malingering and reading romance novels when they should have been busy climbing and blooming, well, it’s their own fault they found themselves in the predicament that they were in. On the other hand, perhaps they were all ready to go but couldn’t catch a good chill. Any pea will tell you that an awful lot depends on the weather. And then there are the cucumbers. Were they explicitly promised the trellis? They are rather muscular compared to a wee pea. It’s good you kept them apart and provided each his own climbing apparatus. I’m glad that you are tethered to the earth rather than the sea because your seamanship skills – or lack of – concern me. I am surprised because I thought you were practicing your knot tying on the grapes. Weren’t you knotting up grape vines at one point? Are you still at work on your garden book? What title did you settle on again? Was it Knotting & Hacking Your Way To A Beautiful Garden? You may be able to get Kickstarter funding, you know. You could probably even earn enough to attend a knot tying seminar.

    • linniew says:

      Well sure Roberta, peas will always blame the weather. It’s a character flaw on their part I think. But these peas are indeed climbing like mad and even producing a pod now and then, although I wish the pods weren’t green, so hard to spot. Anyway about my sea experience: I will whisper to you that I was a pirate in a former life, but pirate life being what it is I didn’t learn much about knots although I know everything about rum and parrots. I am still deeply involved with my garden book and I will take your suggested title under advisement because I suppose the book does need a title and there isn’t one. Kickstarter funding is a great idea. How much do you think I need?

  10. Hmmm….I hate to cast doubt on the assertion that you were once a pirate but I have to wonder if it wasn’t just one wild night out at a Tiki club? That would account for your memory of parrots and rum, hazy or otherwise. Did you drink from coconut shells or the rum bottle directly? I’m just trying to get a clear picture. We’ll have to research the cost of attending knot tying clinics so we can write your kickstarter proposal. Let’s add the cost of a DSLR too so I can document the whole thing.

  11. Grace says:

    My daughter (number 2 of 3 grown young ladies and the pea-grower in the crowd) has been surprised by the verticality of her peas this year too. They got an average start but we were concerned by how long they were taking to flower when, bazaam–“a veritable neurosis of blooms” appeared. (Borrowing your wordy-cleverness, thank you.)

    Anyway, good thing she isn’t growing cucumbers since we’re all out of trellis materials unless you count the pear tree and we’re not.

    So many things I admire about you, your ingenuity being one of them. No need to vacuum the flowers. My eye sight is going and they look perfect to me.

    • linniew says:

      So interesting about the tall peas which must be of some kind of light-gravity strain. Some of mine are two feet beyond the top of the trellis. Of course they are falling over and look a mess now, but they are still producing so the cook doesn’t complain.

  12. funny! 🙂 Love your pictures especially the Japanese iris. My Japanese iris are blooming now, check it out.

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