Friday, December 4, 2009

Sustainable Guava Stick Trellis

First, an apology. It has been over a month since my last post – sorry. My absence in blogsville was due to a few personal changes in November. Primarily I’ve been busy with other activities, working with youth in the community and concentrating on writing projects. The first snows are on the peaks of Mauna Kea, which means here at 3,500 feet elevation we’ve started lighting up fireplaces and hunkering down for the cool rainy season. Of course, plants have also slowed their growth, so I have to admit I haven’t been doing much hands-on gardening lately.

However, I did have a little time to do a sustainable mini garden project: making a trellis out of wood from an invasive species, strawberry guava (waiwi).

(But wait - am I suggesting that waiwi is in some way desirable? Absolutely not. There is way, way, too much waiwi here. If anyone says they’re depending on it for food, I’d like to know how many acres they’re consuming, because despite their supposed waiwi cravings they’re obviously falling down on the job and letting a lot go to waste. Ah, I see - pity there are only so many strawberry guavas one can partake of before nature claims your bowels – ‘fess up folks, the rest, as you well know, goes to fattening up wild pigs.)

In my neck of the woods, a good strawberry guava tree is a dead one. And when you cut down invasive trees, it makes sense to dry the wood and then do something useful with it. Especially when it's something that takes forever to rot in the compost bin, like waiwi wood. Sure, you could burn it. But I'm one of those creative types. Andrew Goldsworthy isn’t worried, I’m sure, but I’m quite satisfied with my handwoven trellis of waiwi branches and twigs a la the fort in the movie “Where the Wild Things Are.”

In the wooden half barrel are snow peas and some young collard greens, planted in organic potting mix (2 parts potting mix to 1 part black volcanic cinder for fast drainage). I also wove into it some sisal twine to help the tendrils grab hold and climb. All in all, my rustic creation seems to be holding up fairly well against constant rain we’ve had in the past few days.


Anonymous said...

If you cut the very top of a waiwi tree, just below where it starts to branch out heavily, there is no need to make a complicated trellis, because the natural branching of the plant makes a perfect structure for beans to climb on.

also ironic that you say waiwi is completely undesirable just after saying you were lighting your fireplace and hunkering down - waiwi is excellent firewood, of course.

Janice said...

Interesting tips. Hard to cut the top of a waiwi tree that's already over 20 feet though. And, ironically, I can't burn wood in my fireplace - it burns gas, and it was put in by the owner of the house.

Janice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.