Sticks + String = Ta Da!

Moving to the country has been a shift, not just in location but also, slowly, in mentality.

Having spent most my life in the city, much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been accustomed to the idea that a visit to a big shopping centre solves most of life’s day-to-day needs without much hassle.  But now that we’re living on the farm, I’m finding a trip to a major shopping centre: 1) isn’t particularly convenient, and 2) isn’t particularly desirable (either for our budget or for my environmental guilt levels).  So I’ve been trying to rejig my thinking and come up with some no-cost solutions around the farm using materials we have at hand.

(*Note here: I’m no modern day Robinson Crusoe; making do and repurposing don’t come naturally to me – at all.  The project below may not be much, but it’s a start!)

Soooo….the climbing green beans we planted as seeds in the raised garden bed a few weeks ago smashed through the soil soon after and have been sending tendrils skyward, searching for something to scramble over.  In my typical impatient fashion, I’d gotten all enthusiastic and planted the bean seeds without first setting up a trellis….or even knowing what on earth I was going to use as a trellis when the time came (I never, never learn!)

Anyway, climbing beans get to the point where you really have to give them something to climb over or they just get tangled and unruly.  That point had almost come and I had nothing, not a makeshift trellis in sight.  It was about the same time I began to realise that farms, while pretty, are really, really expensive to maintain – who’d have thought 🙂  So I figured it was time I learnt how to use what we had.

That was the question: what did we have??  Recent high winds had knocked plenty of branches and twigs out of trees, but nothing looked remotely straight or suitable for putting together as a trellis.  What I really wanted were some truly straight branches, like the ones in the bamboo clump.  That was it!  The bamboo!

The towering bamboo clump (AKA ready supply of dead branches for trellis making)
The towering bamboo clump (AKA ready supply of dead branches for trellis making)

I’ve never been a big fan of our clump of bamboo; it’s not particularly attractive, doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the trees on the farm, and spends most its time looking more dead than alive.  The only thing that’s saved it from being culled is that it’s the curlews’ favourite hiding spot (and no doubt a habitat for all sorts of living things the curlews love to eat but are too small for us to see).  But now the bamboo had a secondary use – the dead sticks were absolutely straight, just the right width and perfect for constructing a trellis.

Fastening the bamboo in an open grid pattern to make the trellis
Fastening the bamboo in an open grid pattern to make the trellis

Reaching between the branches I plucked out several dead sticks of bamboo.  A firmly placed gumboot on the branches and a swift pull upwards snapped the bamboo into the required lengths.  Next I laid the sticks out in an open grid pattern, ready to lash together with a bit of jute twine.  About six thousand double-granny-knots later (where’s a Scout when you need one?), and we had a (free) trellis.  Mission accomplished.

The finished trellis in place, ready for the green beans to climb
The finished trellis in place, ready for the green beans to climb

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