Recently, I followed in the footsteps of a long standing tradition: I installed pea sticks. Pea sticks are really what they sound like; sticks cut and stuck in the ground to support this spring vining crop. You can see examples of this in our Children’s Garden’s raised vegetable beds. Pea sticks have a time honored tradition imported from across the pond. You can be fancy, or plant more simple ones as I did. I utilized some deadwood on a nearby shrub, which needed to be pruned anyways, for my vine supports. I took a waste product and turned into an asset. Be sure to select sturdy branches, finger- or thumb-size thickness, without too much flex.
There are a number of plants, especially at this time of year as they push growth, that, for any number of reasons, may need a little extra support. As discussed in a previous article, we stake only a few plants in the Gardens. We do this mainly to keep them off other plants. Timely cutbacks of certain perennials, along with other techniques, can reduce the need for staking, creating a more compact plant with even more flowers to boot.
Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager