Proving the mettle of our trellises


Star of the trellis show at Noble Rot, it’s Tromboncino, the Italian summer squash that is absolutely unrepentant about its unrestrained vining habit.

A few years ago I had a vision. The vision was of walking under an overhanging trellis dripping with vegetables and of the vegetables being laughably easy to harvest. Slight effort to reach up and then, oh, there’s a bunch of beans in my hand….then the other hand up and, oh, there’s a cuke, etc., etc.  – a sort of Edenic situation where gravity is a friend, not a foe, and where the veggies offer themselves right out in the open without the hide-and-seek game they usually play on the ground.


This Charentais melon rests comfortably at the base of its trellis, while its vines press upward, rung after rung.  This year’s early heat sent me scrambling for melon starts, which I don’t usually plant on the rooftop.  I think the scramble will pay off richly by mid-August.

I’m happy to report that this year, with our righteous June heat wave, we’re charting a course to (veggie) Eden. Taking full advantage of the graceful steel trellises that my friend Todd McMurray made us a couple years ago, we’ve sent pole beans, cukes, melons, and tomatoes up, up, up, and now we’re getting the fruit* hanging down, down, down. It’s a sweet situation which should almost put us out of work by August. Alright, slight exaggeration, but at least it will save our backs and insure that no renegade squash fattens up to obscene proportions out of sight.

So this truly is a year when the trellis proves its mettle….and its structural stability under the loads were expecting will also prove… it’s metal!


Scarlet Runner Beans (SRBs, in rooftop lingo) close the trellis gaps and begin to show their scarlet souls, to which the hummingbirds will come and pay homage.

*Beans, cukes, tomatoes, and melons are all fruits, botanically speaking, being ripened ovaries containing seeds, but only melons, being consumed as a dessert and not with the main course, meet the Supreme Court’s 1893 definition of fruit, see Nix v. Hedden.

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