Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Higgledy Piggledy Sticks

Now that the rain has finally visited the neighborhood, the vegetable garden is taking off. For those plants that climb, above their cute little cellulose heads is my trellis.

Among the keener climbers, some have already reached the rafters. Madagascar Bean being way out ahead of the competition.

My french beans have not climbed as high as I'd expected. I need to get some snake beans in for Summer and they'll climb with abandon. But the Frenchies have been lacking in the growth stakes except for the always tasty Purple Beans -- my favorite.

But as I plant and foster care my plants -- adding bits and pieces to my structure and game plan -- I'm inventing new ways and means to snake and ladder their climb upwards.

The bamboo frame of my trellis is not climber friendly: too smooth. So I add odd bits of branches, sticks and stuff  higgledy piggledy to give perches. I call these add ons, "ladders".

After experimenting with on hand material to create drop -- I call these drops  'snakes' -- I think I'm finally on a possible winner: old rags, ripped up and knotted together.

I had in mind kite tails --where the knots serve to add weight to the drop and offer   ledges so that there's something for the vine to hang onto. 

Raggedy tails  like this are tied to the rafters and droped over the targeted plant -- maybe winding the drop around the plant like a cloth vine itself. There is no need to tie the cloth to the plant or fiddle with the plant's tendrils to hook it up with the snake.

The beauty of old clothing material is that you can pull it any which way to 'fit' the plant.

Nature takes its course and the snake and vine soon enough marry and climb upwards for happy ever aftering.

 I had used rope for the snakes but the rope was nylon and didn't offer an easy grip. It was also light -- too light -- and without being anchored, waved in the wind. Jute or sisal rope would have been good but it's expensive. With the mix of rag material (the very free rag material) -- I get a bit of stretch that allows the climbing plant to sway without fear of being uprooted by a 20 knot plus gusts.

That the rags will rot in time is no problem as most of my climbing  plants are non perennial or short lived. And besides anything that wants to stay up there over a few Summers will thicken at its base. Of course repair is easy: just add a torn rag and knot it on.

I'd like to use designer ragging so that my snakes are colourful additions to the landscape. Maybe if I group rag drops in threes or more, parallel to one another, they'd impress like colourful curtaining.

Views: 277

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Brisbane Local Food to add comments!

Join Brisbane Local Food

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 8, 2011 at 15:00

Excellent idea Dave! I've found old rags to be good too, better than stockings which I have to beg and in plentiful supply. A fitting end for old gardening clothes ;-)

Important note about adding photos:

Always add photos using the "From my computer" option, even if you are on a mobile phone or other device.


  • Add Photos
  • View All


  • Add Videos
  • View All

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

© 2021   Created by Andrew Cumberland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service