Although many people begin planting gardens as early as March in the great North West, it is not too late to begin within the month of May. It is well known gardening activity is good for wellbeing, increased fitness levels and overall health, not to mention the nutritional value of consuming farmed fresh foods. There is also an X-factor created when gardening space wraps around outdoor patios and decks.
As one of many Tigard residents who grew up planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables on large acreage home farms, it’s fascinating to see how today’s generation makes use of small space to produce high-yields of farmed fresh foods.
There’s no need to go full plow and bulk seed bananas if looking to grow an affordable and manageable garden on a deck or patio; and like the ideal of embellishing it with a multi-dimensional vine catching structure that engulfs an outdoor social gathering and dining space.
You can easily build a garden trellis structure made out of rope wire anchored to walls or poles that continue overhead within a 6’x4’ (24sf) to 8’x5’ (40sqft) space, or larger. And able to handle the weight of favorite veggies and fruit hanging from the vine. Similar to the bean tunnel made out of old pipe parts as seen in the picture. Inexpensive no-frills PVC pipe can also be easily attached in garden beds that look like a Quonset hut. However the wire rope trellis system has become a hipster gardening favorite. It looks great and can be installed affordably in a small space by anyone.
To Build a Wire Rope Lattice-Trellis Structure – All you need are 2-3” long eye, or line-hooks, etc., to secure ½ to ¾” into walls or pole [siding]; wire rope, turnbuckle [used to apply tension to rope], S-hooks, and wire rope clamp-eyelet hardware. Installation: Measure the distance of desired siding and overhead rope runs to determine line length for project. Purchase enough line-hooks to install at 24 inch intervals up vertical siding. Add 6 inches extra rope length for each line set to install rope clamp-eyelet for connecting turn buckle and S-hook hardware at wall base hooks. Connect one turn buckle between S-hook [S-Hook is connected to wall base eyelet hook] and other end of turn buckle attaches to the clamped wire rope eyelet. Then on the other end install the rope wire anchor hardware without a turn buckle. Horizontal ski line anchors may or may not be needed depending on produce weight. If you choose not to run open sky overhead lines you likely don’t need a turn buckle.
As vines grow from soil – direct and lean them against both ends of lattice lines. Once vines are long enough, they’ll wrap themselves up the rope and continue overhead. Horizontal and vertical runs of snap peas, squash, beans, eggplant, zucchini, melons and grapes etc., can easily be grown and attached at any section of the structure from potted wall troughs, beds and shelved pots. [Local Home and Garden specialist, or Internet instruction can help with hardware installation and lattice-trellis wire rope design and hardware options]. Tools needed – drill, tape measure, wire cutter, crescent wrench, or socket set and screwdriver.
To make full use of a garden trellis floor or ground space below: place staggered shelves, pots and trough beds at the parameter. If there is wall space available that sees sun – secure shelving at various heights. Or consider staggered ground shelving unit(s) that can be built at little cost using repurposed planks, book shelves, etc., elevated on cinder blocks. Or create a stair like structure to reap the benefits of additional growing space that sees plenty of sunshine. Place lower profile garden produce like cherry tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and Kale at ground or mid-shelve level. Top shelves can be used for herbs like Basel, rosemary, parsley, oregano, cilantro, etc. And/or use top shelves to set and direct potted plant vines to make further use of mid garden overhead trellis space.
Lastly, to create a stupendous X-Factor garden – If you have large enough space to integrate patio furniture and barbeque you can create a very unique social-dining experience. Where farmed fresh foods can be harvested, prepared and cooked in front of guests while sharing green thumb stories over a favorite glass of wine.
If a deck, porch, patio or ground space is not an option but you’d like to grow a small garden, many cities like Tigard offer 4’x8’ garden boxes to plant seasonally at an affordable price. To learn more about community gardens: www.tigard-or.gov/communitygardens or 503-718-2591.
Good health to you and your family.
Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit: www.mirrorathlete.com.”