Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pretty as a Picture: Pea Frame Project

The dwarf grey sugar peas I had planted were growing beautifully.  Unfortunately, I had neglected them a bit due to my trip back to the desert southwest, followed by my memorial day weekend at my grandma's house.  Because of this, I had a nice bundle of pea vines intertwined into what looked like a miniature bush.

Not so good.  They needed support.  I noticed that there were some gorgeous peas that had been harvested by Erica, who blogs on Grow It Eat It, so I asked what she used for support.  It turns out that they don't need much support at all.  Just enough to keep them up and, well, not looking like mine already did.


Because I had neglected my pea plants for so long, I knew I was going to have a few problems, but I elected to try to do my own thing, using only materials I had at hand.

Fortunately, I had some rather nice materials.

Yep, that's it!  A large picture frame, some plastic covered, metallic garden mesh, and my trusty wire cutters.  I found the picture frame beside the garage.  It had been both snowed on and rained on, yet it remained sturdy, so I figured that it would work quite nicely for my project.

I opened up my roll of mesh and loosely sight-measured where the boundaries of the frame would be, then cut a nice rectangle from it.  Because the mesh was so tightly rolled up, I actually had to fight with it for quite some time in order to get it to lay somewhat straight.

When at last it was laying somewhat flat, I grabbed the spare wire that I had cut from the mesh in order to get that rectangular shape.  I proceeded to cut it into long lines (about 6 inches).  I used these lines of metallic mesh to connect the rectangle to the picture frame by wrapping it through the mesh and over the corners.  Two were used on opposing sides of each corner in order to increase stability.

Last, I placed the frame behind my peas, and used some of the twine that originally held the mesh together in order to train the pea vines in the direction I wanted them to grow.

It'll take some time for the peas to fill out the picture frame, and I wasn't able to un-clump the vines that you see on the left without causing them a great deal of stress, but I predict that soon they'll be quite pleasing to the eye.

I also added some additional mesh to the top side of the back of the picture frame so that I can hang this on a wall in the future.  I was hoping to do that with my pea vines, in order to raise the aesthetic quality of the frame, but the wall of the shed didn't seem to agree with me - it had the wrong type of siding.

C'est la vie!  I think it looks plenty pretty the way it is, anyway.  I just hope I've angled it enough that it won't topple over!

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