Re: Cucumber support

We use plain old chicken wire (2x4 inch squares) supported on a PVC frame. I use a variation of the square foot method and this works extremely well for me. I am using the same idea for my cantalopes this year and that's working out well, also.

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i use the hog wire and the iron fence post and it works great
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I had 3 tomato cages left over this gardening season and also had to move into a much smaller gardening space. Only 16X24 feet necessitating growing the cucumbers vertically instead of letting them sprawl on the ground. The cages are made from rewire which is wire used in driveways to try to prevent the concrete from cracking. The cages are 5 feet high and a diameter of 2 and a half feet. I planted the cucumbers inside the cages and threaded the vines up inside the cages as they were growing and now the vines have grown over the cages and are growing back towards the ground. The produce is perfectly straight as the cucumbers are suspended instead of having to overcome the vine obstructions and soil resistance while growing. The vines' tendrils are adequate support without requiring any additional tying to the wire and it is just the (cat's meow) technique as far as I'm concerned! Even if I had all the room in the world, I would never grow them any other way after this very first successful experience.
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Anything that goes up is fine. Whatever is easiest for you to construct. I've even thrown cuke seeds in while pulling early peas that had finished (peas give up the ghost here when our temps reach upper 80s on up which is usually in late May). The pea fence was sections of electrical conduit 6" above the ground with another row supported 4' above the first. Balers twine runs zigzag pattern up and down between the two. Easy to make as many sections as you like and never had a problem with the tendrils climbing the twine. The conduit lasts "forever" and the twine is cheap and disposable. Gary

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Allan Matthews wrote:

What is 'best' is whatever is available locally that meets your needs of aesthetics and price.
I, personally, use green plastic coated welded fencing with 2" x 3" holes in it up a 10' tall trellis (2x4's built into my raised boxes). My cukes are a little past the 7' mark now.
"Vertical" is the way to go. Tomatoes, peas, beans, all the cucurbits (includes cukes, melons), squash and so on ... if it WILL climb, I plan on it doing so. I only have a few square feet horizontally but plenty vertically.
My sun is somewhat blocked by my garage and my neighbors tree. Once plants get a good start up the trellis, they tend to rocket on up the rest of the way because they get more sun each time they climb a little. Once they 'catch the sun' they tend to climb a lot!
Bill
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Zone 5b (Detroit, MI)
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On Sat, 02 Aug 2003 23:54:39 -0400, Noydb

How do you pick them?
Pat
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Pat Meadows wrote:

Once it gets too high for hand picking, I get a 6' step ladder. Once it is too tall for that, I use a section of lightweight aluminum extension ladder leaned against the trellis (it's quite sturdy and anchored by the weight of the soil in the boxes).
Picking up high is not a problem because the supports are every 24" and are tied together with a 2x4 across the top that spans all nine per box and I just handle the vine in three of them at a time (dead center, one left, one right). I take a 2 gallon pail up the ladder with me and have a paint pail hook hold it on a rung while I do the picking.
It's the cukes growing down low that I miss that are a problem. :-) I've pulled two National Pickling yellow footballs out of there already and, since I haven't been able to get to the garden for a couple of days, there are probably others waiting for me to carry them over to the compost pile.
(My cukes have their roots in a strawberry / herb bed ... although I've gotten most of that darned Greek Oregano grubbed out of there. I thought the stuff grew in a slow-spreading clump --like it came to me -- and had no idea that it is even more invasive than spearmint. Now the strawberries are claiming the box for their own, too! But it sure looks pretty when they send their runners over the edge of the box. Very nice effect that breaks up the straight lines of the boxes.)
Bill
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I have a plastic spool that was previously used for wire that is about 2 feet tall and both ends about a foot wide and place it near the cucumber or tomato plants and carefully scan through and up inside the foliage and may have to move the vines slightly to find the cucumbers or tomatoes that are trying to hide from me. I use this stool also when picking peas or beans because I'd much rather sit than stoop. Picking them in the cages is now a comfortable, enjoyable experience instead of having to stoop over and follow the vines on the ground moving all the leaves and on numerous occasions stepping on the vines. No more sore back and so far no rotted, deformed produce and this also allows for easy spraying and watering when needed!
wrote:

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Long-armed loppers and a fish net? ;)
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