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With my garden out of commission this year with the piggies inhabiting it, I had no place to grow my sugar pumpkins, which we eat ridiculous quantities of year round. Could I grow them vertically? I wondered. A quick web search revealed that I could.

The bed up against the house was only about two feet wide and I liked the idea of building a cane pyramid with cross-braces, and example of which you can see here. But when I went to the store to buy the six-foot canes, I quickly discovered I would need two or three hundred dollars worth. So, that was not going to happen.

Now, Nora has been supplementing our cows’ diet all year with pollard and she’s been getting it from our poplar trees. The cows peel the bark off like pros and munch the small branches if it were hay. So there were tons of peeled trees lying around the cow pasture. I limbed the nubby leavings and cut them to seven foot lengths. But the cross-braces were going to pose a problem. I had room for nine pyramids and that meant dozens of little cross-braces. What could I use that wouldn’t take forever to attach?

Duh. That’s when the el cheapo side of this Scotsman kicked in. There was a heap of baling twine left over from a winter-worth of square bales. And bingo-bango, it took no time to wrap my pyramids in it.

So five pumpkin seeds were planted under each ‘bed’, one at each corner and one in the middle. They are growing incredibly fast. I have to get out there daily and tie up the vines, which seem to grow many inches in 24 hours.

But I’m really proud of this reuse of local materials for the pumpkin supports. And I’ve discovered how thirsty pumpkins can be. The stands are on the south side of the house, so they get constant sun plus reflected heat. I installed a permanent soaker hose and keep it on drip and the plants are going crazy. After this, I will never grow them any other way.