Glen Eco Farm
glenecofarm at planetcomm.net
Tue Dec 23 19:11:33 EST 2008
> On Tue, 23 Dec 2008 09:18:00 -0600, you wrote:
>>Need some input on growing cucumbers on trellis. We grow pickling cucumbers about .5 acre per planting. Labor cost for harvest is getting real costly, I thought maybe we could pick faster and have cleaner fruit if trellised. What is your ideas.? Thanks Bill
> I grow cucumbers on circles of remesh. This seems to work very well.
> A straight line of the remesh would work as well as a circle.
I started a thread on this topic almost a year ago (Jan 29 - Feb1) and got 10 responses. I went back and reviewed them and decided to copy several of them into my "Agriculture Technical" folder in "My Documents" There were some good ideas there. It would be well worth one's effort to go into the MF list archives to dig it up. Don't ask me how to access the MF archives. (smile)
I tried the nylon trellis netting this past summer with not very good results. About the best i could do was to get them up about 2 - 3 feet and that involved (at minimum) daily attention, breaking a lot of runners in the process. I had also tried them on remesh in the past with about the same results. One thing I tried a bit different was to hang the bottom of the netting about 6 -8 inches above ground and make a foot high windrow of hay along side to encourage the runners to go upward before connecting with the netting. Seemed like a good idea but even that didn't work that well.
I think I will go ahead and copy on here what I considered the better of my last year responses:
I have grown trellised cucumbers for more than 25 years, in much the same way that my mother did before me. Today, I just use heavy stakes or T-posts set about 4 feet apart and wrap heavy bailing twine between them. Starting very low on the T-posts, paired strands of twine are set about 4 inches apart. On the first pass, the twine is wrapped so that it passes in front of the post. One the return trip, it is wrapped 2 or 3 times around the end post and then wrapped so that it passes behind the post maybe an inch above the previous strand. At the end of the row, the twine is wrapped upward about 4 inches, and again is wrapped so that it passes in front of the bar. The return is behind the bar and an inch or so higher. As the cucumber grows it is easy to pull the cucumbers between the paired strands of twine. Unfortunately, cucumbers are not self-climbing in the sense that beans are, so regardless of the method employed, they will require ongoing training.
My mother's technique was very similar to what I just described, but she tore her old worn sheets so that they formed a long continuous strip. Strips were torn from left to right to about an inch from the edge on one side and the next strip was torn about an inch below that from right to left, and so on. The strip was knotted at the edge to prevent further tearing. This ingenuity came from days of having to make do. And it worked wonderfully. She used wooden stakes exclusively, wrapping the fabric around the posts in much the same way as I do the twine. The fabric gets higher marks than the twine in my book, even though it take more prep time (though it's nice busy work while TV watching) because the fabric is gentler to the vine, cradling and protecting them from bending and breaking. It also "holds" the vine in place better than twine or wire or fencing--all of which I have experimented with over the years.
It's probably not the prettiest sight when first set up, but it is quickly covered with the growing vines. I have done 200 foot rows this way, and it's simple, quick, and fairly inexpensive.
On Jan 30, 2008 6:46 PM, carol wilson <carolaw5 at yahoo.com> wrote:
I have grown cukes on a trellis since my first year doing it on my own...I hated tromping through the field and trying to not step on sprawling vines. Most of my vines are on woven wire (some 4"X4" & some 2"X4"), I do have some cattle panels as well. I just used whatever was handy, rather, on-hand. My rows are oriented east to west and are straight up and down(no leaning). I try to keep things simple for myself. I don't have the cattle panels or wire directly on the ground (makes it easier to weed and lay mulch), I raise them up some (7-12"-just eyeball it) and wire them to the posts. the woven wire is easier to keep up because i bend part of a "square" out & slide it over the post...it pretty much holds itself up but I do wire the bottom on so the wind doesn't take it and pull the plants out of the ground.
I'm not sure that the V you talked about would be necessary. I plant my cukes pretty close and they do fine all growing on the same trellis. I think what might happen with a V orientation is that the cukes would begin their journey upward and then a few might miss the next rung and begin to "lean". The little tendrils might catch the other side of the V & continue on up. Then, when they come on you could have cukes in the middle of the V that would be difficult to get to.
Carol in OK Zone 6
We trellis all our cukes, but have found the Hortonova doesn't hold up
under UV for more than a year or two and then leaves a mess of plastic
bits. The woven nylon trellis net sold by Johnny's and others, on the
other hand, lasts and lasts and lasts and is light and easy to put up.
take down, store, etc. We use a local "living post" -- gloricida --
that then provides leaf mulch and/or partial shade if we need. We bind
a heavy cord or doubled up twine to the end post, then weave it through
the top edge of the trellis net for strength, binding it to post tops
down the line. Usually we plant in "hills" of 3-4 cukes about 3-4'
apart with "hills" of pole beans planted in between to take over the
trellis when the cukes fade out to disease. We may plant herbs or some
small quick crop in the front and some shade-loving crop behind. The
crucial step for us is helping the vines (both cuke and to a lesser
extent bean) first connect to the net and then helping wayward vines
connect anytime we're passing through.
I think I am going to try the "V" trellis idea at least on a small scale. I would incline the sides of the V outward at a 30 - 45 degree angle from the ground so I shouldn't have trouble with vine crossover. The biggest probem I can forsee would be finding a material stiff enough to hold its form without sagging. Hortinova would definately be out and wire fencing or remesh would still require additional horizontal support between posts along the outside. Could be done but difficult to do economically. I used to have access (early 90s) to a local Honda motercycle dealership that regularly threw out piles of bamboo crating panels. They were strong, relatively light weight, and weather resistant. They made great greenhouse bench tops. I need to check into the possibility of procuring some more. They might work for my cucumber trellis.
Marlin Burkholder Virginia zone 6
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