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Today’s garden DIY disaster brought to you by spiders and Bob Vila.

March 11, 2010

March 11, 2010

So I built a pea trellis today out of stuff that was already in the shed from last year. Initially I thought it would be cool to buy some bamboo and lash it together to make a grid for the peas, but it was $1 for every 6-foot length and I wondered how it would hold up as a freestanding structure.

The great thing about gardening over at my in-laws is that the basement is stuffed with every imaginable tool, appliance, fastener, string, wire and other useful item known to man. The problem is that in order to find it, one must be possessed of the skill you need to see the 3-D image in those old Magic Eye books. You’ve got to kind of disconnect, unfocus your eyes, and the object in question will materialize. It’s really strange.

Yesterday I had the idea to fashion a rudimentary screen to sift my compost, thinking it would speed the process of removing roots and twigs. Wrong: the only screen available was that fine-mesh screen door material. I built a sifter anyway, which –shockingly!– didn’t work at all. It’s sitting in a sad heap in the shed again, waiting to be recycled into something with actual value.

Part of the problem was that I cut the frame pieces with a hand saw. What a pain in the ass. So today I went to the basement, meditated, and found not one but three different saws that would be perfect for cutting lengths of wood for the trellis frame. I settled on a circular saw, and also found a power drill, extension cord, measuring tape, string and three organizer drawers full of oddball screws.

  • Lesson 1: it’s harder than it looks to cut a straight edge with a circular saw. The edges of my cuts looked like water had eroded them away. Flat enough, but still.
  • Lesson 2: Never work with a wood harder than white pine. When I tried to screw the cross pieces together, the unknown hardwood I had nearly made me apoplectic. The wood resisted drill bits (I broke one!), wood screws (bent them) and nails of any size (split the grain).
  • Lesson 3: Flathead screws suck. I’m only bringing my own Philips head screws from now on.
  • Lesson 4: Tying string to form an even square grid is impossible.

I finished one of two trellises, and it only took me three hours. And to top it off, when I was pounding the trellis legs into the ground, the hammer head flew off! I have so much more respect for weavers, spiders and home improvement people who make it all look so damn easy.

Here’s the finished product. The second photo is just to show how the strings are secured. Try not to giggle too hard at the slack spots and crooked squares.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2010 10:01 am

    What is that netting used for?

    • Michelle Donahue permalink
      March 12, 2010 12:00 pm

      It’s just cotton string–peas need some sort of light support in order to grow, so I tied strings in a grid to give them something to hold onto.
      Thanks for reading–how’d you find the site?

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