Cucumber Frame

I debated whether to include this particular project in the blog, since it starts with a badly made gate – thereby potentially limiting its universal appeal to those who, like me, make poor choices in workmen. But it is still a cool project, and illustrates my philosophy regarding using what you have to make better things.

Not much of a gate, maybe it could be something better!

The original gate for our project was thrown together and later replaced with one that both works and looks good. What was wrong you ask? It was not square, had no real reinforcement, so each time it was used it became LESS square, was hung on poor supports, too high to be effective.  The pickets were also apparently eye-balled for spacing with irregular gaps between them.  The wonderful man who eventually recreated our fence tried to work with this gate, but frankly he hated it and made a new one in which he could take pride.  I didn’t blame him, but was left with a sad little gate standing off in the corner with nothing to do…

Step one, save the frame from the wood pile. At this point the gate no longer had the pickets attached. Hmmm.  What we have is basically a frame. Which I need for my cucumber trellis, right? Of course right!

With no pickets the frame was really wobbly.  I added L brackets at all the corners to reinforce the joints.  Next step: add string to make a trellis.  There are probably easier, cheaper, prettier ways to do this.  Use your imagination! I chose to put in eye screws at intervals around the entire inside of the frame.

Eye screws attached around inside of frame

As  you can see, instant gratification girl strikes again, and I did not bother to measure the intervals. I don’t think my plants really care if the resulting squares are perfectly even. Once the eye screws were in place, I used string the carpenter left after leveling the fence. It is tough nylon and should stand use for many seasons.  It also has little “give” or stretch to it, so I was able to make the trellis quite tight.

Since I want the cucumber frame to stand up at an angle, and also need the frame to be portable so I can rotate my crops, I needed a way to stand it up without driving posts into the ground. Left over pickets from the scrap pile seemed perfect.

I chose two pickets of the same length, and leaned the frame against them for fit. I marked off the point along the length of the picket where the best angle would be created to allow the frame to stand with no other support and which would provide a good surface for my plants.  Using two hinges at the upper left and right corners of the frame, I then attached the pickets.

Climb cucumbers, climb!

The frame is quite sturdy, the angle can be adjusted for a wider or narrower bed, and the entire thing can be folded away between plantings.  The cucumbers seem to love it, and it supports them nicely.

Cucumbers grow off the ground, thanks to the frame

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