“Though the winter skies be scudding, Soon the spring thaw will be flooding, And the crocus will be budding, Now is come the Solstice” (excerpt from David’s Solstice Wassail).
But before crocuses bud and gardening fever hits, we still have time to prepare equipment to produce better and more abundant crops.
I’ve already made a seed table and cold frame and a prototype solar oven out of cardboard and foil, but there are a few more items on my list and now’s a good time to get something happening. These include a good solar oven, a solar dehydrator, or a portable frame to fit over a bed to cover with plastic or mesh or Remay, depending on the requirement. I have plans for all these projects, but will start with my most pressing need: a pea trellis that’s easy to erect and folds down for storage. My previous methods required starting anew every spring, hammering in long poles of rebar, unwinding tangled lengths of mesh and re-stringing them across the span of poles. When the wind picked up it bent the rebar over so far that the peas were lying on the bed next to them and were a real pain to pick.
I’ve found a great plan that I’m going to implement, with a few modifications. It’s an A frame I’ll make with one inch PVC pipe covered with wide chicken wire or plastic mesh, spanning the central foot of the three foot wide bed, held in the ground with stakes, allowing pea vines to grow up along the outsides of the frame. If I made the prototype frame five or six feet wide and six feet high with each side leaning inward to join at the top, the frame shouldn’t topple over in a strong wind. Erection and dismantling would be as easy as pulling out the stakes, ripping off the spent vines, folding the frame up and moving it to the ensuing climbing bean patch.
The mesh or chicken wire should be strong enough to support the vines and have wide enough spaces to easily remove the vines at the end of the season. It should also be coated with plastic as metal might burn pea tendrils.
This would also be a good time to walk around the house looking for wasp nests to scrape off before they return and make the nests bigger. Okay, I looked it up on my trusty reliable internet sources and found that most sites say the wasps don’t build onto their old nests year after year, but I’m going to go with the one that says they do. How else could they get so big? So I’ll follow the Precautionary Principle and scrape them off.