Support inside an organization shouldn't be one direction. It shouldn't be that the manager supports the employee and that's that.
And I think sometimes with the notion of servant leadership, this has become a bit of a misunderstanding. I know a lot of well-intentioned H.R. folks and managers who believe it is their job and their job alone to support people. And that's good as a starting point, but it isn't what real support, what interdependencies ought to look like in the organization. There should be peer level support, there should be every which way cross up, down, sideways support for people.
That's what creates a sense of belonging. That's what gives an organization a rich, healthy culture where people know that they can go to someone else if the person they started with didn't have an answer. And they don't have to become overreliant on any one person because, well, what if that person leaves the organization or gets promoted or has a bad day. Support from everyone to everyone.
Interdependencies are what make for a very, very strong organizations. And when you do work with team effectiveness, that ought to be one of the objectives that you have supporting people at all level by all levels so that everyone has a better chance to grow.
Over the three seasons that I've had a Straw bale garden, I've gotten better and better about understanding how to support the plants as they're growing. This year, I did something a little different with the piece. I took gardening twine and created rows about every six inches, in addition to what was already available on the trellis that I'd given them.
And this year , I use different types of tomato cages for the biggest tomato plants and then I use the small tomato cages and put them right in at the very same time that I transplanted the pepper plants, pole beans, and I've got pallets that I've put up for the vining plants and all sorts of things to give the right level of support to the plants that need that type of support.
Turns out that support is even more important in straw bales than it is in the garden that you grow in traditional dirt. And that's because throughout the season the straw bales continue to break down and by October they're pretty loose. They don't hold themselves up very well. You have to support the last plants by supporting the bales of straw themselves. But it's all worth it because I get so much great yield out of the straw bale garden.
I found these really cool tomato cages. They fold up and they stand vertically when you're not using them in the extended way that you see here, that saves me a lot of space indoors when I'm not using them. And they were an investment. They're a little pricey at the beginning. I got them on sale at the end of last season and saved a little bit of money, but they're so worth it, because they are extremely sturdy and I know I'll be able to count on them holding up the plants, even when the straw bales aren't doing as much of the holding up as they do at the beginning of the season, the smaller plants, the peppers that you see in the upper right hand side, they got what used to be the cages supporting the tomatoes.
They were just too small. My tomato plants far outperform the ones that I put in last year. They got so big and they were so heavy because of all the produce that they were putting out. They just needed something a little bit stronger. And this year I'm growing a lot of pole beans. There are two types of beans, bush beans and then pole beans. And I'm growing more pole beans this year. They have to have a pole to attach to because many of the drying beans that I prefer are pole being in style and I'll get a good, strong yield out of those.
I can dry beans and and put those away. Dry beans will last virtually forever. So I'm stocking up on those. My cucumbers had good support last year, but they went wild, they grew out the support, they grew down the straw bales, they were out across the gravel ground. They just were so productive so that this year I've spread them out just a little bit. I planted fewer and believe me, I have plenty of pickles to last for a lifetime.
So I'm not growing the pickled cucumbers this year. I decided to go just with standard cucumbers and not that many of them. But here's my favorite thing of all, and I'm giving it a completely different support system this year. It has an entire archway support. What you're looking at is a gourd. It's a luffa gourd, L-U-F-F-A and what many people don't know is that a luffa gourd is where you get a luffah sponge. Luffah sponge, the kind that you use to scrub your skin or you can use them to wash dishes.
That doesn't come from the sea, it's deceiving because it's called a sponge, but it comes from this very interesting gourd. I limited my luffas last year because I didn't give them a tall enough trellis to climb up and that limited the size that they were able to grow to.
The longest one I had was about as long as my forearm, plus a little bit of my hand. So a little longer than my forearm. But I've heard that these can grow to the size of an adult's leg. So I'm going to give mine a lot more room to grow this year vertically and hope that they will yield more for me. Here's what happens when you harvest your Luffah, you leave it to the point when it gets yellow and you let it dry out just a little bit and then you'll find a thread on the outside of it that you can literally unzip and it opens up.
And then when you open it up, you let it dry a little bit more a couple of days, and then you cut it and wash it and pull all the seeds out of it, and then you leave the pieces to dry. This is what I'm showing you is from two of the luffas, as I had five altogether. And I hope this year to have at least 10 and every one of them to be a lot bigger than they were in the past.
That will all come from giving them a better support system, one that doesn't inhibit their growth. You know, the same is true with people that you work with. You'd never want to inhibit their growth. You want to give them all the support you can. And then because you've given them that support, that opportunity to grow, they're going to give more back to you in the long run.