Trellises are essential for vining plants, such as pole beans, peas, and some varieties of squashes or cucumbers. (Check the tag or the seed packet. Varieties that don’t need a trellis are usually called “bush” variety.)
Providing a trellis allows these plants room to grow up — and makes harvesting easier. There are plenty of store-bought versions, in just about any material (wood, plastic, or metal), but you can make a custom support system with just a little bit of effort. You can even find creative things to reuse!
Build It: Fancy Style
For my vining plants, I built A-frame trellises with hinges on top. I can use them in any of my garden beds, they work with all of the vining varieties of vegetables I plant, and I can store them folded flat when they’re not needed in the garden.
To build your own, first determine what size you want them to be. I made my math as easy as possible and relied heavily on web searches for photo inspiration! Mine are 3 feet wide by 4 feet high, because the galvanized economy wire fencing I purchased was 3 feet wide, and I purchased cedar in 12-foot lengths.
Next, choose your materials. You’ll need enough untreated cedar to build your frames, commonly found at most home improvement stores. Cedar is naturally rot- and pest-resistant and doesn’t need harsh chemical treatment to stand up to the elements – making it the great choice for organic gardening projects.
You’ll also need galvanized metal fencing or hex poultry fencing (chicken wire), coated screws, two hinges per trellis, and a staple gun with heavy-duty staples. Because I built a total of four trellises, I was able to cut costs by purchasing a 50-foot roll of galvanized metal fencing for less than $30.
The frames are very simply built (I’m a novice DIY-er and built these by myself in one morning). To assemble the frame, simply lay out the pieces of 1x2 cedar into the shape of your trellis. I recommend three upright pieces, 4’ tall each, held together at the top and bottom by a 3’ length of cedar. Simply use one rust-proof deck screw at each intersection to create a sturdy frame. You can use a square if you feel the project needs to be perfect; I found that creating a rectangular frame with a support in the middle created its own right angles pretty easily. Repeat this process for the other side of the trellis. Staple the fencing on the backside of the trellis and carefully cut it with tin snips. Screw the hinges to the tops, and voila! I like to use tent stakes to keep these trellises in place.
Build It: Makeshift Style
Sometimes you don’t want to venture to the home improvement store for a project. Gather found materials and make a trellis out of just about anything! Bamboo stakes or strong twigs work well and can be easily bound together with garden twine. How about a trellis made from bicycle rims and some ingenuity?
Have you ever made a trellis? What kinds of materials do you like to recycle for garden projects? Tell us in the comments below.