As I've mentioned here before, I use jute twine to string up my climbing plants. ...and I have plenty of those.
I strung up my choko vine to very good effect hither and yon with some lines running for over 10 metres. I use bamboo poles and whatever sticks to hold the lines aloft.
Obviously there is a breaking strain -- especially with the chokoes on board -- but I found that the lines broke only when the fruits were big and ready for harvest. So when the lines fell, it was no big deal. It's note worthy that while the twine broke, the stems of the choko vines remained intact.
Today I cut back my choko vines as the main harvest is over. I also cut back the jute lines supporting my African yams.
Talk about easy! All I used was a pair of scissors and it took me 5 minutes to snip snip my way through so much 'OVER' growth: twine plus plants. I just dropped the lot in mulch piles.
With the jute twine mixed up with the vines, the whole lot will rot down and was immediately mulch friendly. I picked up the remaining choko fruits and that was it.I'm never going back to trellises again.
While I have harvested some pumpkins, the jute method hasn't agreed with my butternut pumpkins because they aren't such keen climbers and they are heavier for longer on the vine. But the Achocha (Bolivian cucumbers) , climbing Roma beans,Yam Bean and New Guinea Bean love the grip they can get on the twine.
For those interested in twining up -- Big W are selling a British 3 ply jute garden twine (Gardman) marked down for $1 /roll...while stocks last.
While my backyard looks like a macrame workshop, my improvisations are beginning to approach a method with a certain logic in play. If you are worried about 'look' the green twine is almost invisible in the air. If you want stability and durability, use what I use: old garden hoses and string them aloft between A and B. I've also employed trees to anchor the hose lines.
I've had no storm problems...and so far, by spacing my climbers, I've not shaded out my garden too much. As I get more practiced, I'm guessing how much weight each line is likely to carry as the plant climbs, grows and fruits. That such light gauge twine carried so much choko weight was amazing.
Of course you need to attend to the vine wrangling. It's a necessary hobby. So along with harvest issues, you need to be able to reach your tendrils in order to train them. Thus the need to raise and lower the lines.
Also you don't need your twine leads to be taut. It's OK for them and their vines to flap in the wind...and for the line to sag. If you are going to raise and lower the heights you need flex in the rigging.
I thought the local possums would use the hose lines as expressways during garden raids, but I guess because they sag and rock, they have kept off them.
This leads into the question of what mast could you build to create this rigging? I suspect that if you positioned uprights on all corners of your garden you would have many options available to you.I''m using trees and whatever else is tall enough. I ran a jute line off the veranda today-- but I would not run a heavy hose line off that structure. I also find the hoses sit around the tree limbs like a loose collar and don't cut into the bark. Consider that as the tree moves so do the lines...and despite that: nothing has collapsed in a storm.After all I'm not trying to suspend elephants.
With hose lines -- or lines strung with heavy (poly) rope you need to hang off jute twine so the plants can cling on. Everything clings to jute but plastic or bamboo, even most woods, are problematical. That's why the trellis tradition relies so much on meshes and wire. (How about cleaning the mesh after harvest? Don't you love that!)
It's all about clingability.
Over Summer I dropped parallel obliques off the veranda roof and grew a creeper over it for cooling shade -- then with the cooler weather I just snipped snipped it off and dumped the cuttings as mulch.
Since I use waist high rails the length of my beds I'm using jute drops like yo-yo to capture and support climbing beans and other creepers -- to give them some direction in life.Then when they reach the rail I can run another line to the 'cables' over head.
But you do need a good supply of poles. Preferably light poles like bamboo or old aluminum rods like the things used for paint roller or pool cleaner extensions. Heavy woods put too much pressure on the twine. But I've found that cut tea-tree branches will work because they are often straight(ish) and always light. The good thing is that because you don't need to insert these poles in the ground, they won't rot quickly so you get longevity.
In future I guess I could explore this method with sweet potatoes and tomatoes (by boxing them in twine?).I can't rule on standard cucumbers, mainly because my own crop has been so bad and I found that cucumber vines can be brittle and break easily.
And one last tip: use the twine from the getgo. Grabbing the tendrils and vines of an established plant and trying to train it to climb on the twines while mature will only harm the plant.Climbers seem to rely on a perspective that gives them security. Change the game plan suddenly and they may up and die on you.Tendrils are alive and prescient. Respect them as feelers with feelings....
Running an experiment just now. Had work done in the yard so one trellis which was a mess anyway, removed that and had a sturdy wood frame erected with a top and bottom rail. Into the rail are set screws on which to anchor the twine. I've bought several weights of twine. Just started with some Tomatoes so when they are big enough, will try out the system. Mine won't have the flexibility yours does, Dave. The trellis is confined within both rails although I can string up twine across the bed.
Because my beds are all discrete and there's no trees close for anchors, probably I will need built frames for the twine. Confining myself to the one bed for experimental purposes until I see how it all works out.
Yup, cleaning wire/plastic trellising is a right pain!
Thanks for the idea, Dave :-) keen to see how it all goes.
Well I'm not neat and I think ahead only one twine at a time. Using higgledy piggledy overheads allows greater flexibility for placing climbers. In a wicking type bed set up maybe you could employ star posts. But these kinda stop reaching skywards at about 1.7metres and you really need taller if you are going to embed them. If you do what I often do and lash a longer stick to an even shorter metal post you will get the height.
Ram in the metal and use that as a footing for a taller stick...I do this rather than make any upright permanent.
While you can run a cross piece as you have , Elaine -- and that's very neat -- you can simply stretch twine or another rope material between the two at some height and drop yo-yoes off that to targeted plants below. Sagging isn't really a problem. The 'horizontals' don't need to be taut. Plants grow with wind factor in mind.
I find with jute twine that when you drop the twine end onto the seedling below, a simple light twist around the plant stem will encourage the plant to climb it. In the past when I used other line material I had to anchor the ends down with some sort of weight or use a (often tent) peg. Jute is just so forgiving and flexible.
Another method is to create a permanent railing along the centre of the bed and use that as a resting support for poles/rods you elevate higher -- then string twine between those. Grow to the railing first, then along the raining before taking the climbing plant higher--using a method of your choice.
My railings aren't permanent yet but I'm going to buy some star posts and start making them stronger. I run bamboo at waist height parallel to the beds. I'm experiment with this railing method as support rigging for tomatoes. But then, I guess, as Lyle from the Green P argues ('the potato man'), the best trellising for tomatoes is the rolled square wire mesh. I find toms are so brittle that they don't like to be manually trained.
I'm so lazy I just break off branches off of old tree cuttings , and drive them into the dirt around the tomato plant as it grows. The more branching off on each embed the better the embrace of the tomato plant -- but I need to tie the branches to the railing. Without the railing these branch supports fall over.
Twine update: The Circus Outback.
I've been growing a lot of climbers, and ramblers I have taught to climb.I employ a hand rail to separate the rooted bottoms from the higher aerials so no wind gust tug will pull them from the earth. Criss crossing hither and yon, I found the best structural material to be old garden hoses which I hold aloft -- raise and lower -- with bamboo poles.
The rest is all strung together with garden twine: jute.
Since i've been doing this for over a year now I'm getting the 'hang' of it -- and I'm hanging a lot of cellulose on high.
If you can design your aerial patterns with planned structures then that's for the better. In one section of garden I have a formal wheel spoke layout. But elsewhere i've had to make do with already growing trees and some kopper log uprights.
Nonetheless I can plant a climbing plant almost anywhere in the garden and still feed it upwards and onto my strung mezzanine. I supplement by looping twine along the hose lines as required.
Over Summer: not one incident of storm damage.
After harvest it's all a simple chop chop up for mulch --string and all.
You'd be surprized how much weight the line network will support and how keenly the creepers and climbers find their way about.I do intervene and twine the tendrils as I see fit but it generally is a method on autopilot.
Over Summer the elevated greenery offers lines of shade and while there is a bit of overlap between climber and non climber, I can't say the ground sentenced plants have suffered.
This has been my best year for snake beans. The passionfruit is every-up-where. I have climbers climbing which I don't know the name of... The yams took off upwards like fireworks. Straight up single line. The chokoes and snake gourd, however, need a lot of taming attention.
Even the cucumbers joined in.