Monday, June 13, 2011

Building New Trellises for the Garden

I've given up on trying to predict the weather this year. It rained all weekend and temperatures barely got into the 60's. The rest of the week isn't looking much better. Plant growth seems to shut down during these cool and cloudy periods. Hopefully this will change as we approach July.

Anyway, I found myself working in the rain on Saturday and Sunday. I had to build and erect my two new vegetable trellises as a few of my indeterminate tomato plants were beginning to keel over. Sometimes certain gardening chores/projects cannot wait any longer (I'm sure most you will agree with me on this) so you put your boots and rain jacket like a good little gardener and just suck it up.

I wanted to build trellises that were fairly light weight and moveable and opened up like a tent. This way, I could adjust the angle of the vertical beams to suit the gardening space. Simple hinges were just to connect the vertical beams together.

It didn't take me too long to put my two trellises together. Here is what they looked like fully installed. The cucumber trellis (right) is about 8 ft tall and 8 feet wide. I used 2 x 2's for the vertical beams and 1 x 3's for the horizontal ones. The pieces were all connected together using 2 inch screws. The tomato trellis on the other hand is 7 ft tall and 10 ft wide. I used 2 x 3's for the vertical beams and 1 x 3's for the horizontal ones. If I had to do it over again, I would have used 2 x 3's for the cucumber trellis as well.

Once erected, the trellises felt surprisingly sturdy. For added stability, I tied each vertical beam to wooden stakes that where driven a foot and half into the ground. I'm hopeful that the trellises will be able to withstand a mighty wind storm anchored in this way. I used rope instead of screws as it will be easier to remove. However, I'll replace them with screws at the first sign of trouble.

Once up, I began to train my cucumbers to climb up the strings. You can't tell from this picture but I used two strings for each plant. This will allow me to weave the vines through them if I have to do so. On a side note, I planted some beans next to the cukes. I been planting them in as many places as I can fit them as I'm determined to get a good bean crop this year!

Whenever you're constructing something for the garden, there's always a degree of uncertainty as to how it will turn out. In this case, I'm pretty satisfied with the end result. Then again, only time will tell. Tomorrow, I'll talk more about my three tomato trellises.


  1. This is kinda off topic, but I really like your patio stones.

  2. Wow, your trellises look a lot like one Kyle made for one of our beds, except it is made out of 2x4s (I think) and they weigh a ton. I suppose he's anticipating having a ton of veggies growing on them.

  3. I really like this idea Thomas. I can't wait to see how they work out for you. This may be a good idea for the plots next year.

    Oh, nice harvest post yesterday. I just love the Seascape Strawberries!

  4. I have the same thing only with rope tied bamboo poles for the tomatoes this year and they are working out really well, despite the fact that I have 8 tomatoes in each 4x8 bed LOL - mine are about 4 feet high now and the tent structure is holding steady - hope yours do the same!

  5. I really like the design with the hinged tops for flexibility. These will accomodate a variety of growing beds in the future and gives them much greater utility in the long run.

    I love those paver stones too - immediately caught my eye!

  6. Very Impressive! I really like the hinged top idea as well.

  7. As always, your construction looks really nice.

    Just out of curiosity, do you care if the woods are treated or untreated?

  8. I love garden construction projects and yours are always interesting. The fact that they fold flat for storage up against the side of a garage is nice. Even better, very little effort will be needed to set them up in subsequent years. The only potential issue I see is that you have screwed the hinges into the end grain. I hope you used really long screws because the short ones will pull out in not time since you can't get any bite going into the wood in that direction.

  9. Those look very sturdy. And unlike mine you don't have to put them together every year.

  10. Thanks for your great photos and for telling us what you would do differently if you did it again. I have been thinking of building some trellises myself, so this is really useful information.

    I noticed the gate to your garden. Could you please post how you attached it to the fence?

  11. I like it, Thomas - and think it'll work well...

  12. Nice supports. I think we have gotten into the 60's about 5 days this year.

  13. Great Post !!! I like the "vertical opportunities" you are providing for your crops. And it LOOKS great.

  14. Your garden looks beautiful. I really like the trellises. I have used a similar design for growing green beans which worked really well. I really like the idea of the hinge on the end. Great job!

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