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there are a lot of great benefits to growing vegetables in raised beds:  nearly eliminating the presence of weed seeds, growing more in less space, and easy crop rotation.  but there are some challenges as well – the biggest of which (for me) has been how to deal with my climbing plants:  pole beans, tomatoes, watermelon, squash, pumpkins, zucchini, and cucumbers can all be raised vertically if given the correct supports.  however, when you have almost an entire 4’x8′ box of climbers, how can you fit in supports on every row without it looking like a huge mess?

last year i had few enough climbers and small enough boxes that i ran two bamboo poles into the ground on either side of the box with another pole across the top and then created a lattice-like grid with string.  it worked great. 

but this year, with bigger boxes and more varieties of veggies i’m wondering if this is the best system or not.  so i’ve been researching other alternatives and hopefully i’ve at least found an attractive (and virtually free!) solution.

bamboo-trellis

I found this idea here, where the construction is explained in more detail.  I’d still have to play around with using this in a raised bed and making sure I had enough room to set it up at an angle that wouldn’t topple over immediately.  Obtaining supplies will be easy since my parents have an overabundance of bamboo – so construction would be free, which is always nice.

My idea was to grow plants up both sides of the “teepee,” possibly with shade loving lettuces grown down the middle and living in the shade created by the vines above it.  The idea would also be to have these last for a long time:  bamboo will break down if left untreated, but if I coated these in a water-based poly, I could extend their lifespan significantly.  I guess it’s just trial and error from here. 

And then there’s always that pesky problem of not having soil in all of the boxes yet…

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