Small space gardening

Posts tagged ‘how to cover up utility boxes on your house with plants’

Repurpose a Shepherd’s Hook for Small Space Gardening

Well, here they are. Ugly utility boxes on the side of my house that are messing with my curb appeal (I live on a corner, and this side of my house faces the road). They’re making my new, small-space garden area look bad. I have a dream-like vision of how I would like my side garden to look, and the picture in my head doesn’t include a miniature power-plant.

Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening /MyUrbanGardenOasis

I would pry those suckers right off the side of my house, but I’m not too keen on living without electricity. I’ve come up with something much more sensible to make them “disappear”.

In my stash of gardening treasures, I found the shepherd’s hook shown in the above photo, that I wasn’t using, and I had an epiphany. In one square foot of earth, I can make use of my hook, grow some veggies and cover those unsightly boxes. Genius. I’m certain P. Allen Smith would be impressed.

It’s a simple process. First I loosen the soil where I’ll be planting, being careful not to destroy the cables that are under the ground in the area. I amend the soil as needed, and insert my shepherd’s hook. Out of respect for my hard-working meter readers, I make sure to leave plenty of space in between my hook and the meter so it can be easily accessed.

I need some twine, and this’ll do the trick.

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening /MyUrbanGardenOasis

I tie it to the base, like so.

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening /MyUrbanGardenOasis

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening /MyUrbanGardenOasis

I then bring the twine up to a hook, and tie it tightly so there’s no slack in the twine.

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening /MyUrbanGardenOasis

Next, I find another place on the base to tie another string.

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening /MyUrbanGardenOasisg

Again, I bring this string up to the top, and tie it tightly. I repeat the process until I have four strings that form a fan shape.

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening /MyUrbanGardenOasisg

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening /MyUrbanGardenOasis

I planted cucumber seeds at the base. I prefer pickling cucumbers because I like the flavor of them, the seeds are so small that you don’t even know you’re eating them, and because they’re easy to grow on a trellis since the fruit is lightweight. I plant them from seed because they germinate easily, grow quickly and are cheaper than transplants. And a packet of seeds will last me a few years if I store them in a dry place. So after I plant the seeds, I mulch over them. Not to worry. Those little powerhouses will push their way right through the mulch–no problem.

Because cucumbers climb and attach themselves to structures via tendrils, they need very little coaxing to crawl up the twine. All I have to do in the beginning is keep each vine growing on a separate string. If I don’t watch out for this, they’ll quickly grab onto each other instead of the twine, and become a tangled, droopy mess.

Here you can see they’re on their way! If you look closely, you can see their little arms (aka tendrils) grasping onto the twine.

Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening / MyUrbanGardenOasis

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening / MyUrbanGardenOasis

 Re-purpose a Shepherd's Hook for Small Space Gardening / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the ball enough to take a picture of the vine fully grown all the way to the top, but you get the idea. Other veggies that could be grown this way are pole beans and peas, but you could also grow flowering vines like clematis this way. What makes my heart go pitter-pat is the fact that I can grow veggies in such a tiny space. I had more cucumbers than I could eat, and some lucky neighbors ended up with the overflow. I also like that the shepherd’s hook disappears as the plant grows, and all you can see in the end is a pillar of vines. I’m not sure what I’ll plant on “the hook” this coming growing season, but I’ll throw some photos your way if it’s something spectacular!

If you would like to see another easy DIY trellis for cucumbers, click here!

This blog was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and a Journeyman Painter servicing the Bloomington/Normal, IL area. You can view her portfolios at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com for more before and after photos.

If you have an interest in home decorating, organization and home improvement projects on a budget, please feel free to check my other blog at HomeStagingBloomingtonIl. You can find additional before and after pictures on my website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com.

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How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers

Since my little slice of earth is very, very tiny, I try to grow “up” as many plants as I can to save space. So I decided to build a simple trellis to grow pole beans on.

First some background. The side of my house faces south, which is the best place to plant veggies as far as the amount of sun goes. Since I have a corner lot, I don’t have a neighbor’s house blocking the sun on that side. I have an atrocious-looking air conditioning unit in that area of my yard, so I figure why not hide it from view by planting some lovely vining green beans in front of it. I’ve planted every inch of my backyard, so now my side yard gets the overflow.

Check out my picture. I told you its atrocious. Equally as hideous is the flexible downspout, but I ran it through my fence, and have it pointed at a newer birch tree that loves the extra water. My new trellis will hide that as well.

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Because of the way I’m planning to construct my trellis, I need to loosen the soil so that I’ll be able to push my stakes into it. I also took some time to mix in some better soil along with it.

So here’s what I bought at Menard’s. I got the last two! Whew! They’re six feet tall which is the perfect height for my beans.

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

All I need to build my trellis is a drill, some screws, a pencil, some bamboo, some fishing line and scissors to cut the fishing line with. The screws are from some bunk beds that are no longer with us (I save everything!), and the fishing line (not pictured) I purchased at a garage sale. I use fishing line for all kinds of projects, and was at a loss when my son, Brandon, moved out and took his with him. Bummer.

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Next I lay two stakes on top of each other, measure down 5 inches (oops–see below in parenthesis before you drill), and drill a hole large enough to accommodate my screws through both stakes. (Edit–Please note that after construction, I felt it would have been better to drill at a measurement of closer to 10 inches down so that there would be enough room for the cross piece on top that runs parallel to the ground to lay on top of the screwed area instead of having to attach it underneath where the pieces cross.)

Be sure to drill straight or you’ll end up with some scrap wood. There’s not a lot of room for error on my stakes since the screws I’m using are rather large, and require a large hole to be drilled. But hey, the screws were free. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasisg

Next I insert my screw, and add a lock nut.

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

I then push my A-frames into the ground, spacing them evenly. I push them in the ground as far as I can push them so they’ll be as stable as possible.

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Now I add the piece on the top, and run it under all the frames, attaching it with my trusty fishing line. I need to push the frames in the dirt so they’re all of equal height or my top cross-piece along the top won’t fit right. I couldn’t put the top piece on top of where the pieces are joined because it wouldn’t fit down in the space, and that’s why it’s underneath. In order for the brace piece to lay across the top, I would have had to spread out the bottom pieces way too far.

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

My poor little vines won’t have enough areas to climb on if I leave it as it is, so I add some cross pieces that are small pieces of bamboo that I also purchased at Menard’s. I tie them on with fishing wire.

 How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers / MyUrbanGardenOasis

 How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers / MyUrbanGardenOasis

I keep adding more bamboo pieces until I have all the cross pieces I want. Here we are complete!

 How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Now I can run my ugly flexible downspout inside my trellis so it’ll be hidden from view once my beans are up and growing. I also have to add some chicken wire around the base of my trellis to keep the bunnies out. Also, we have ground squirrels that like to live in downspouts in my neighborhood, so I keep the downspout inside the fence too. I’ll never quite get why any animal would like to live in a downspout in the blazing hot sun, but then again, we humans hang out in saunas.

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Here are my beauties starting to grow.

Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

To the left of my trellis, I attached some screw eyes to my fence, and ran wire thru them for more green beans up on. For a more detailed explanation of how to use a privacy fence for growing vegetables vertically, click here.

 How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers / MyUrbanGardenOasis

 How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Unfortunately, this summer was not a good one for veggies in the Midwest. We had a terrible drought, and lots of heat so my green beans didn’t do too well. There’s an awful lot of yellow in this picture considering the fact that they’re supposed to be green beans! The good news is, my trellis did an outstanding job even though my green beans didn’t.

 Simple Trellis for Veggies / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Note: I left my trellis out all winter, and it’s held up just fine!

Edit to the original post: The following summer, I had better luck with my green beans on my trellis so I thought I’d add some better photos.

How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers / MyUrbanGardenOasis

How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers / MyUrbanGardenOasis

How to Build a Simple Trellis for Your Veggies and Flowers / MyUrbanGardenOasis

If you have an interest in home decorating or enjoy DIY projects to help organize your space, please feel free to check my other blog at HomeStagingBloomingtonIl. You can find additional before and after pictures on my website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com.

This blog was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner (Home Staging Resource at http://www.HomeStagingResource.com) and a Journeyman Painter in the Bloomington/Normal, IL area. You can view her portfolios at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com for more before and after photos.

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