Garden trellises are functional as well as beautiful. A garden trellis is an attractive way to support climbing plants. They are most often seen in decorative gardens and flower beds, but can be used to support vining vegetable plants, too. Cucumbers, peas, beans, tomatoes, and many varieties of squash can be trained and grown on a garden trellis. This saves precious garden space and deters rot and fungus by keeping fruit off the moist ground and out of the dirt. What's more, a garden trellis is an attractive, decorative addition to any vegetable garden, making your vegetable garden more than just a practical growing space.
Types of Trellis
While there are many ways to support climbing vines and vegetables, some are sturdier than others and it is important that you choose the right material to support the mature weight of your plant. Determine whether or not you want a trellis that is decorative and functional or just decorative.
Bamboo wigwams are an easy and inexpensive trellis design to construct and make an excellent support for beans or other climbing annuals. Bamboo stakes will last for several years.
Place 4 to 8 foot tall bamboo stakes in a circle in the garden and attach them together at the top with garden twine. Plant beans or other annuals at the base of each stake. As the beans begin to grow, direct them up the stakes.
A sturdy string trellis is great for peas but will also support beans. Place 2 6-foot wood stakes (or sticks) in the ground on either end of your pea or bean row. Attach another stake (or stick) across the top. Tie pieces of garden twine from the top of the trellis to within 1 inch of the ground, at each point where you will have a plant. The bean or pea plants will climb the pieces of string on their own.
A-frame trellises are excellent for tomatoes, beans, peas, or other annual climbers. This trellis design uses 7 pieces of 1x4 lumber, 6 feet each, 1 1/2-inch wood screws, 2 hinges, a roll of hardware cloth (36x25-inch), saw, screwdriver, wire cutters and a staple gun. Cut 2 of the pieces of wood in half, to get four 3-foot pieces. Make a frame by placing 2 of the 3-foot pieces with 2 of the 6-foot pieces. Attach with wood screws. Make another frame exactly the same way. Cut and staple the hardware cloth to both of the frames. Be sure to pull the cloth tight, so it does not sag. Connect the 2 frames using hinges at the top. Cut the remaining 2 6-foot pieces into 4 3-foot pieces for legs. Make a point in each of the legs to stick in the ground by cutting diagonally across the board. Attach the feet with wood screws. Plants can grow on either side of the frame.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson adds, "Paint or varnish A-frame trellis with outdoor product for longer life."
Simple Stick Ladder Trellis
If you have some flexible ( mostly green) sticks lying around your yard you can put them to good use to make a simple stick trellis. Lay out 2 longer, sturdier sticks about 2 to 3 feet apart. Place shorter, smaller sticks of about the same size, evenly spaced between the 2 sticks about 1 foot apart. Use wood screws to attach the shorter sticks to the larger sticks. This trellis design is great of flowering vines and makes a nice addition to a rustic garden.
Although trellises can be purchased at any home and garden center, making your own will save you a great deal of money and be an attractive and practical addition to your garden.
TIP: Susan reminds you, "Be sure to store trellises that are supporting annual plants in your garage or shed over the winter."