Sunday, April 19, 2015

Support is a wonderful thing for vegetables - and people

I've wanted to build teepees in the garden for a long time, and actually tried it once. After doing a story about kitchen gardens, I craved the teepees I saw in a book - great big bamboo poles painted bright blue. So I ordered the biggest bamboo poles I could find online, painted them blue - not asy - and then tried to get them in the ground. I couldn't pound them down deep enough, so they toppled over in the first heavy rain. Then the paint peeled. Then the bamboo cracked.

Support is a wonderful thing for vegetables - and people

I've wanted to build teepees in the garden for a long time, and actually tried it once. After doing a story about kitchen gardens, I craved the teepees I saw in a book - great big bamboo poles painted bright blue. So I ordered the biggest bamboo poles I could find online, painted them blue - not asy - and then tried to get them in the ground. I couldn't pound them down deep enough, so they toppled over in the first heavy rain. Then the paint peeled. Then the bamboo cracked.

Emily, my fantastic garden helper, arrived on Saturday morning for our "work day" with a sack of bamboo poles and more energy than I've seen in a long time. Were you up early on Saturday? I was outside at 7 a.m., after a big rain the night before, and I think it was the most beautiful morning we've had all year. Birds were socializing and singing, the light was soft, and everything looked fresh and new -'cept me. Even after some sleep, I was tired. Long week.

Emily set about building four teepees, five poles each. She tied each pole individually and then wrapped them all together, pushed them into the ground and planted peas, which will climb up and give us, after years of me planting insufficient numbers of seeds, enough peas to actually eat at a meal. Once the peas are done, Emily wants to plant cucumbers or melons. Support is a wonderful thing for vegetables and fruits - and people!

Having someone to guide me through the building of teepees, succession planting and other things - which, in retrospect, don't seem all that complicated, but who has the time or energy to figure it all out? - is also a wonderful thing. Emily will be back on Saturday. Can't wait to see what she has in mind.

Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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