We could not leave it any longer, our “Champion of England Tall Climbing heritage peas” (yep that is their name) were desperately needing to run riot in the new raised vegetable plot. These are a very rare UK variety that was almost extinct commercially and can grow up to 10 foot tall. They seem ideal for those living in an urban location with limited garden space, like ourselves.
With the usual crop rotations, we cannot grow beans/peas in the same location two years in a row, so we could not do the usual wigwam construction in the main veg plot to support them all. Plus we grew far too many seedlings this season, not forgetting all the other beans that we need to find some space for in the coming weeks.
Keeping it cheap for our tasty climbers
To keep it frugal, we opted for our usual bamboo bob the builder construction project with some trusty garden wire, instead of splashing out some stylish wooden trellis from the local garden centre. Yes the purchased trellis would look very nice, but once the peas get going you won’t clearly see the trellis, just a sea of green and a splash of white flowers. Plus trellis tends to cost £30 a piece and we would need two of them to support all these peas. We considered building our own trellis, but again you have to buy all the wood, spend the time making them and finally weather proofing them.
Bamboo is certainly strong enough to support all that weight
They will get quite heavy once fully grown and covered in pods. Even though our canes are only a cm in diameter, once they are weaved and lashed together they become very sturdy.
Plus we figure if the Japanese can build skyscrapers using a bamboo scaffold then downscaled it’s more than good enough for our peas (LOL). Pictured right was the only photo I could find from our hols that slightly illustrates how versatile these structures are.
Also a pack of 6 foot bamboo canes only cost around £3 and last for many years.
Makes complete financial sense, scrimp it!
Well aside from being very proud of our £3 pea trellis, we think it’s the perfect scrimping solution for supporting all those lovely peas. As we don’t want to spend over £60 for all the materials and then it takes years to get any form of Return On Investment, it could take easily a decade to recoup your costs when the idea is to save money. Also the lifespan of the garden centre trellis might not exceed the same duration, even if they are well looked after.
So come on ‘bob’, point out the obvious and tell us how it’s done.
We know it’s self-explanatory and you don’t need a degree architecture or construction to erect a bamboo trellis, but if you’re interested or want a good laugh at our expense, then please read on.
- Spacing the canes
Assuming a man’s hand span space between each cane is more than enough space to ensure a strong structure and plenty of support for the plants. We inserted nine 6 foot canes about 6 inches into the soil, up against the rear wall of our raised veg plot.
- Comapct the soil for support
We then made sure the soil around the base of each cane was sufficiently compressed to stop them moving about.
- Weaving the cross beam Took our first cross beam and effectively weaved it in and out through each cane to create tension before lashing each end with garden twine.
- Lashing the end supports It’s important to tie it tight twice round the vertical cane, prior to looping over the horizontal cane and back around the vertical cane. Do this several times before tying it around the space between the canes to hold the knot tight. If done properly, it will not slip in either direction.
- Lashing the cross sections Once the ends have been done, lash all the other points where the canes cross.
- Repeat the process Then carry on this process on each new cane weaved into the frame. It is a good idea to alternate which starting side of the first vertical cane per each new cane weaved through to create even more tension amongst the canes for a stronger structure.
- Ensure the support is sufficient Once we got to the top, we decided to ensure the entire structure would not act as a sail in the wind (once the peas were fully grown) that we needed a little more support. We could have pushed them deeper into the soil, but we opted to tie them to pagoda beam above to hold them in position. Alternatively they could be secured to a fence.
If you want to take the piss or ask any questions please leave a comment below.
We hope that this post was of interest or a quick chuckle for all those qualified builders out there. We simply aim to demonstrate how easy it is to do and that growing your own food is one of the most rewarding hobbies you can participate in.
Back to the champion peas, how much will we save?
This is the first time we have grown this variety and we don’t know how well these are going to do. From the information we have sourced, they are potentially very high yielding, so with 13 plants, providing they all grow to expectations we should produce a lot of peas.
We will update this post in the autumn harvest and report back just how well they did and if they are the ideal candidate for green fingered scrimpers!