Trellis Time

This week in the Flog:

  • Building trellis’s (trelli?) for the tomato and cucumber planters
  • Stringing up supports for tomatoes, egg plants, cucumbers, peppers, from the trelli

Wow, the cucumbers are growing like anything and have come to a point I need something to keep the net off them. They are big enough that the inquisitive bird-monsters would probably leave them alone, but since they are vine-ish anyway, its trellis time! I’m making a super simple trellis for them. It needs to be simple because I live in the city! Do you live in the city? If so, do you have a toolshed? I thought not (or I thought wrong – lucky you). This simple trellis design requires a bit of wood, string and a saw. You could even break the wood to size if you needed, its just 1″x1″ thick. Look at the materials in this nice little heap:

Garden Trellis - Part 1

Supplies: wood poles, string, saw

First we saw the supports to length. This trellis will be for the tomatoes. They are in the planter above the lettuce so I don’t want to make them too high. I’m making the trellis 2ft tall and then I’ll trim the plants to fit it. Thus, my pile of trimmed supports along with the top bar:

Garden Trellis - Part 2

Trellis supports cut to length

Then we build it! I’m just crossing the two supports and then putting the top bar in the V that they make at the top. I’m tying up that joint with string. I could probably reinforce with liquid nails (the city folk’s best friend) but whatever I think it’s fine, if it falls then I’ll “build it better”. First put the two beams together, tie the string where they will cross, then separate them to make the V to create tension. Like so:

Garden Trellis - Part 3

tie the supports together firmly, then spread them open to create tension

This planter is 8ft long, I’m thinking the middle of the planter might need some support, so I’m adding one support there. This irks me since it requires I hack into another length of 1×1…oh well.

And there we go! The completed trellis. Hopefully the tomatoes grow up and bear fruit.

Garden Trellis - Part 4

Tomato trellis is up and ready for the tomatoes to grow into it

And for the cucumber trellis, I’ll do the same, but with 4ft supports – it is on the top and not blocking anything, so no need to build them super short. Also the cucumbers are right in front of our bedroom window so it should be nice to see them each morning as we wake.

I’ll tell you now, I wish I had a drill!! I could have used it in every project so far and more to come. In this project I’d use it to drill neat holes in the planter for the string that the plants will latch onto. Oh well, necessity is the mother of invention. I’ll use the saw to cut slits in the planter:

Garden Trellis - Part 5

This slit will anchor the string that the cucumbers will crawl up to reach the top of the trellis

Then I’ll tie a knot in the string, and push the string into the slit I’ve cut in the wood. Trying to pull it through wedges the start of the knot in the wood.

Garden Trellis - Part 6

Now the string with knot gets pulled until the knot is wedged

After, I lead it over the top bar and secure it on the other side. Tada! I’ve got the stringers up for the cucumbers to climb. This finished job looks like it will do the trick.

Garden Trellis - Part 7

Stringers for the cucumber are up!

I had to remove their tendrils from the netting and wrap the tips around the string. It’s amazing, not half hour later and they were firmly wrapped around the string. Here’s two tendrils, and a mysterious fly I’m a little worried about – not sure if it’s here hunting bugs of cucumbers… Any ideas?

Garden Trellis - Part 8

Tendrils wrapped firmly around the string, but a mysterious fly hanging out, one of many

One more look at the completed cucumber trellis. I love the cucumbers because they are monsters! Growing quickly with no problems so far.

Garden Trellis - Part 9

Completed trellis for the cucumber plants – looks great

You don’t need to use a trellis with cucumbers. So why did I go to the effort to build one? First it’s super simple and quick to make these simple trelli. Second and most important, space! It always goes back to that – I have a small “patio garden”, I need to maximize the space and the easiest way to do that – grow up.

This is such a simple trellis design, you can do it without any tools at all. Which brings up a good point. There isn’t much holding us back from being urban gardeners. It doesn’t take a lot of time, it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive or require lots of tools. You just have to do it. A little effort and you can have the joy of watching a garden grow and flourish – so much fun!!

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