The new raspberry canes have arrived & we are still preparing the supports.
Raspberries become very heavy when they are in full leaf & covered in rain, so the supports have to be firmly fixed in the ground.
They say that there should be one third of the post below ground and two thirds above – so a big hole is necessary!
It is worth spending some time getting the post straight, as it is more likely to stay up if it is straight – & you will be looking at it for many years!
Place some stoney material in the bottom of the hole.
Then firm the stones well down. It is important to firm down a shallow layer, before covering with another layer, & then firming that down.
An old fashioned thumper is ideal to firm the material around the post.
Cover the stones with the soil that originally came out of the hole. Thump down each shallow layer. Try to return all the soil taken out of the hole back into the hole. That pressed down will keep the post tight.
Preparing the supports for the raspberries is a long, hard job but well worth the effort as it will help the raspberries to grow well for many years.
Runner Beans need poles, sticks, trellis or mesh to climb up and provide support.
Plastic supports last for years and tend to be stronger than bamboo canes.
When the beans are mature, they will have a great mass of foliage, which is heavy, particularly when it is wet following rain. Therefore the supports need to be strong and firmly in place.
Wigwams are fun – but require a boy scouts’ knotting technique. Suttons sell a plastic ring which hold the canes firmly in place for just over £3.
Thompson & Morgan have a similar wig wam cane grip - about £5 for 2.
wigwan cane grip
Hazel poles make a strong support for runner beans and climbing french beans.
Hazel is said to be ’sustainable’. This is because it is a cut & come again plant – traditionally coppiced when the poles are a useful length & left to grow again.
The bean plants do not have to be tied to the pole. They find their own way to the pole and then twist themselves around it.
Now is the time to get organised & find the supports that were put away at the end of last season, or source some fresh bean poles, sticks or trellis.
These plastic sticks to support runner beans were a big expense 4 years ago – but it is so good to be able to get them out of the shed & put them up in no time at all.
Our hazel sticks:
- look good
- take ages to cut & strip, if you are using your own hazel
- are trickier to place as they are all different shapes
- do not last as long as the plastic sticks
- are slippy, so the strings do not grip as well
What sticks do you use to support your beans?
Supporting Tomato Plants
Bush types require no supports. The main stem of cordon types needs supporting to stop
it falling over.
- Canes or strings can be used.
- tie tomato stem each 30 cm
If canes are used as support, the main stem should be tied loosely to the cane as it grows. So there will be a string holding the stem to the cane every 30cm or so. Soft string should be used, so that it does not
cut into the stem
Bush types require no supports.
The main stem of cordon types needs supporting to stop it falling over. Canes or strings can be used.
tie tomato stem each 30 cm
If canes are used to support the tomato plants, the main stem should be tied loosely to the cane as it grows. So there will be a string holding the stem to the cane every 30cm or so. Soft string should be used, so that it does not cut into the stem.
It is worth doing a good job of putting posts in, as it is such a nuisance if they fall down. Posts are needed in the kitchen garden to fix the wires along which fruit canes can be trained. When in full leaf the canes are quite a weight, and if in a windy spot, a lot of pressure is put on the post.
To hold the post up, a long end needs to be firmly fixed in the ground as an anchor.
At least 2′6″ of the post, preferably 3′ , should be in the ground, depending on the soil type.
Dig the hole 3′ deep, shove the post in & back fill with a little soil at a time – 4 or 5″, then thump it down. Thumpers were made in the old days but they are hard to find now.
Use the blunt end of a stake to thump the soil down around the post, but it must be thumped evenly, or the post will keep moving. Let the thumper fall straight, & watch your hands – wear gloves. Put another 4″of soil in & thump again. Check the post is straight as you go, with a
spirit level. If not, thump a bit more on one side than the other, to straighten it up.
You can back fill with 1″ chalk or brick rubble (particularly at the bottom of the hole) instead of soil, but make sure it is small enough and that it breaks down as you thump, so that it goes tight.
To fix a post in firmly, there should be a third more soil in the hole with the post, than you took out – if you have thumped it down well enough!
Runner Beans need poles, trellis or mesh to climb up and provide support.
When the beans are mature, they will have a great mass of foliage, which
is heavy, particularly when it is wet following rain. Therefore the
supports need to be strong and firmly in place.