Chatelaine Kitchen

How to grow cucumbers...up the fence

Take your container gardening to the next level with this resourceful technique.
By Kristen Eppich
Cucumbers cvines 2 Masterfile

One month into my rookie vegetable garden and I can report that if nothing else, becoming a gardener has a steep learning curve. I am happy to say that everything I planted from seed actually came up! This may seem obvious to some, but to me it's a miracle.

After one month in the garden, here are some key things I learned:

Containers are your friend - How to grow cucumbers up the fence: Now that the time has come to get everything in the ground that is grown from plants (instead of seeds), I have decided to do as much container planting as possible. This includes, cucumbers up the fence! I have planted my cucumber plants into a large pot with triple mix and soil. I have the pot pushed up against the fence in a very sunny spot. As they go, I plan to train the cucumbers to climb - since they are a vine - up my fence for vertical growth. I am somewhat wary of the weight of the vegetables once they get large, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime - it's a great space saver, rabbit proof, and fun! Also in pots are hot peppers, herbs and cherry tomatoes. Thanks to the hungry rabbits, I have a few blank spots in my garden to plant and stake my larger tomato plants.

Never call anything a "sure thing": While beans, peas, carrots, and beets did come up as predicted - such reliable little plants - they were the first to be attacked by aggressive rabbits. After trying many remedies for this rabbit problem, including eco-friendly sprays (which I actually think the rabbits liked more) and human hair (which got me some raised eyebrows when requesting it from the hair salon), so far I can't keep them away. The pea and bean harvest is looking fragile, carrots meek and beets...I'm hoping for one!

Pumpkin craze: One of the best reactions from all you kind souls out there was the warning I received about planting pumpkins - apparently they have a bit of a reputation for taking over a garden. Ironically, the rabbits have left the pumpkins alone and they are thriving. I luckily planted them along the edge of my garden, so hopefully I can tame the madness. If in fact they go pumpkin crazy, I have a plan B: It's called fried pumpkin blossoms, my friends. Will keep you posted.

Don't over seed your vegetable garden...with grass seed: Probably the shining moment of all has been the day I came home to see an overzealous neighbor "helping" bring back our neglected lawn by over-seeding it...including my freshly planted vegetable garden. Needless to say, there was nothing I could do short of handpicking about a million grass seeds out of my first-ever vegetable garden. My prized garden now resembles the patchy-haired noggin of a 9 month old - but hey, it doesn't have to be pretty.


I look forward to hearing from all of you again. In the meantime, keep growing (sorry).

Originally published June 3rd, 2012.


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