Like many Pagans, I enjoy my garden. But now the end of summer has passed us by. Fall has arrived and the garden has been mostly harvested. The little that's left will be harvested within the next two weeks. After that, winter will cover the land with snow and outdoor gardening will come to a halt until spring. But there are still things to do. The garden must be prepared so it's ready to go once the snow melts. One of the things I have to do is build a few A-frames to support some of the vegetables I'll grow next year.
Materials Needed for Building the Vegetable A-Frame
There are several items that you’ll need if you want to construct a vegetable A-frame. You should first purchase 7 1x4s and trim them to 6 feet in length. The lumberyard is usually more than willing to trim them down for you if necessary. If you want your A-frame to last for several years, you’ll want to purchase treated lumber that can withstand exposure to the elements. You can also use untreated lumber if you prefer.
You’ll also need high quality wood screws. To help prevent rusting, purchase galvanized metal screws. Also make sure you have an electric drill and electric saw (to make your life easier, though you can use hand tools if you prefer), staple gun, tape measure, and two hinges. You can purchase any type of hinges you like, but if you want the A-frame to last, purchase hinges that are designed for outdoor use.
Finally, you’ll need screen for the A-frame. This will allow the vines of the plants to grab on to something. Many people like to use window screen designed to withstand pets. It’s light and easy to cut comes in large enough sizes to cover the A-frames, and it can handle a lot of abuse. If you’re using this type of window screen, you’ll need wire cutters to trim it to size.
Constructing the Vegetable A-Frame
Cut 2 of your 6-foot lumber pieces in half so that you have 4 3-foot pieces. Take 2 3-foot pieces and 2 6-foot pieces and assemble them to make 1 frame. The 3-foot pieces are for the top and bottom, the 6-foot pieces are for the sides. Screw these four pieces together. Repeat so that you have 2 frames. These will be the sides of your A-frame.
Cover each frame with window screen that has been cut to size. Secure the screen using your staple gun. As you do this, pull the screen tight to avoid sagging. You may wish to ask a friend to help you with this step.
Attach the hinges using wood screws to the top of the frames, connecting the frames so that they can be opened or closed at will. It is easiest if the frames are lying on the ground when you do this.
Make feet for your A-frame that can be pushed into the ground for stability. Do this by cutting a 6-foot piece of plywood into 2 3-foot pieces. Then cut each 3-foot piece into 2 1.5-foot pieces, but with a diagonal cut. The pointed part can slide into the ground easier and help you secure your A-frame.
Using wood screws, attach the feet to the A-frame with wood screws, one at each of the four bottom corners. Make sure the pointed end is facing downwards. Once you've done this, your A-frame is ready to go into the garden. Simply open the A-frame up and stand it in the garden, driving the pointed stakes into the ground for stability.
When you place the A-frame in your garden, you can open it as much or as little as you like. Bear in mind, however, that the more you open it, the more stable it will be. If you open it up about 3 feet, the vegetables get the space they need and you get a stable enough A-frame. If you construct this A-frame with the proper materials and store it in a dry place when not in use, it will last you for years.
Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.