I Am A Frayed Knot

Learning to lash like a Boy Scout had me swearing like a sailor in the middle of my garden…I am embarrassed to admit this.  I was a Girl Scout counselor.  I am an ISU Master Gardener and a NATABOC Certified Athletic Trainer.  I can do things with tape people only dream about.  However, if I have to take the frap in hitch and wrap around the spar three more times it might just finish me off quite neatly.

Growing up as the sister of three Eagle Scouts I thought that this skill would be easy.  If a 13-year-old boy can get a Pioneering badge with it, a 45-year-old woman with an education should be able to tie a simple knot, right?  This elementary fastening was supposed to bring structure, support, and beauty into my garden.  No more bush beans for me, I would be harvesting pole beans from a vertical trellis made from glorious bamboo.  I chose a red paracord to give it pops of color from afar and delighted in researching the bamboo trellis designs. 

Like Thoreau, “I went into the ‘garden’ to live deliberately…to learn what it had to teach…” This month, I was schooled in lessons of beauty and support.  For years, I had been wanting to do this network of poles and vines.  Not only does it seem like an efficient use of space, but it also is visually quite stunning.  Getting down to logistics, it appeared quite simple.  Make tripods, make crossbars, assemble, and plant beans.

The lashing steps took place in the make tripods, fasten crossbars, and assemble steps.  During these stages, my paracord frayed and the structure was unstable. I tried zip-ties; they were too loose. Poles fell on my head. To add to my frustration, I even received a bamboo splinter through my gloved hand.  Through each new challenge I fought and persevered.

In previous articles we have written about the resiliency of gardeners and gardening.  Every time we have something wither on the vine, we glean something new.   During this project, I had to take a step back and ask myself, what could I do differently to get a better outcome?  What I didn’t tell you is that I was working on an incline.  My garden is not on stable ground.  However, it is growing where it is planted, similar to numerous families here in Siouxland.  My answer was I needed to ask for help.  Like many, this is not an easy thing for me to do. 

Having the right support can produce the outcome needed and the beauty we seek.  After my decision was made to ask for assistance, I trudged up the retaining walls and knocked on my husband’s home office window.  He, too, has been working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Obligingly, Dan changed into work clothes and together we proceeded to set up our trellis. This year, Dan and I have definitely overplanted our beans with the intent to donate into the food pantries knowing that more families will have a need to use this resource of fresh produce. 

Currently in Siouxland, there are many families that are on unstable ground due to the Coronavirus.  The beauty of the Up From The Earth system is that community members can Plant, Grow, Share or receive assistance at any of the 30 donation sites around the Sioux City area.  I might have taken a lashing at the beginning of this project, however, learning more about relationships and the network of support our community has to provide is truly extraordinary.

To learn more ways you can be part of the Up From the Earth movement check out our webpage at:https://upfromtheearth.wixsite.com/siouxland and our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/upfromtheearth

Other vegetables and herbs you can plant mid-summer:

• Basil
• Beans (bush and pole)
• Beets
• Brussels sprouts
• Chinese cabbage
• Carrots
• Kale
• Kohlrabi
• Leeks
• Radish
• Squash (winter)
• Turnip

By: Lisa Cox

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