This is year two of our garden. Last year we had two garden areas that produced hundreds of tomatoes, a few varieties of squashes, broccoli, green beans and cucumbers. We did not really tame the wild garden and it is an understatement to say things were a bit overgrown. But, even overgrown, we enjoyed the fruits of our labor all summer long and into the fall!
This year we prepped the ground and planted in mid-April, however we knew we wanted to help guide our plants this year. Instead of having the tomatoes on the ground, and the squash and cucumbers taking over all the space in between every plant- we wanted to make the plants grow vertically.
After much research, we decided to create our own trellises to help our garden grow better.
For our tomato plants, we used six simple- 5′ U-Post steel light duty posts (bought at Lowes for around $4 each) and yarn to guide and support our tomato plants.
For the squash trellis, we used three-7′ U-Post steel heavy duty posts and vinyl coated fencing. We purchased Blue Hawk steel fencing with a green vinyl coating (48″ high and 50′ long). I drove the 7′ posts into the ground, evenly spaced behind the garden area. I put two posts in one direction and the middle one the opposite direction, this would allow the fencing a bit more support when hanging on the posts (the U-Posts have little hooks on the back side for easy hanging of the fencing). After the posts were driven into the ground, I measured the distance between the posts and cut the 50′ fencing to about a foot longer than needed, I figured we could just bend back any extra fencing we had. We then hung the fencing from the top of the 7′ post, which allowed about a 1-2′ gap at the bottom (the squash plants are already pretty big and were long enough to climb on the fencing given that gap). After hanging the fencing, we guided the squash plants up the fencing to help them start to grow vertically.
For the cucumber trellis, I repeated the steps above, however, I only used two 7′ posts and I used one 5′ post in the middle. I hung the fencing so it would start all the way at the ground since the cucumber plants are not that big yet, and also produce fruit much closer to the plants roots then the squash do. After hanging the fence, again I guided the cucumbers through the fence to help them start growing vertically.
To make two trellises, six posts for the tomato plants, and one post for the blueberry bush, it cost about $130 and about an hour to assemble. Our garden is already more organized and our plants will produce more and better fruit (hopefully). The trellises and posts should last a very long time, and if they work this year, we will use them again next year. I also have about 35′ of fencing left over, so if we decide to make more garden areas, I can easily make a few more trellises.
When you are assembling your trellises a few other tools you may need include: a ladder, hammer, and a block of wood –(I stepped on the post’s “wings” to drive the first foot or so into the ground, however you may need a bit of extra muscle for the rest, so having a ladder, hammer and block of wood could help drive in the rest of the 7′ posts into the ground if you can’t reach the top). I also needed a pair of outdoor garden pruning sheers or wire cutters for the fencing. (Make sure when you cut the fencing to keep a smooth edge as much as possible so you don’t cut yourself with the fencing)