As you may know by now, we’ve undertaken two key experiments in our organic vegetable garden this year.
Our first experiment revolves around a concept called Square Foot Gardening. (See book recommendation at the end of this post.) After installing the raised boxes and special soil mix, we needed trellises for climbing crops like zucchini and pumpkins.
Want to know how we built them? Read on!
How to Construct Sturdy, Economical Trellises for Climbing Crops
- 1/2″ electrical conduit (made of steel)–about $2 each.
- PVC elbow connectors–also $2 each.
- rebar–we used 4′ sections, which cost $3 each.
- nylon gardening grid–about $5.
- Helpful: something to tie the netting onto the trellis–we used zip ties.
Before you begin:
- Purchase materials.
For each trellis you will need:
• (2) pieces of rebar
• (2) 6′ pieces of electrical conduit*
• (1) 4′ piece of conduit*
• (2) elbow connectors
• (1) nylon netting
*We purchased 10′ sections of conduit and Mr. NT cut them into 4′ and 6′ lengths.
- Assemble tools.
Mr. NT used a saws-all to cut the conduit, with a special blade for cutting metal.
He used a hammer to pound the rebar into the ground.
Trellises should be placed on the north side of a raised box. This will prevent the climbers from casting shade on the plants around them. (Most vegetables and herbs love all the sun they can get.)
1. Use a hammer to pound two pieces of rebar into the ground, one at each corner on the north side of your wooden box (outside the box, as shown below).
2. Slide one 6′ piece of conduit over each piece of rebar.
5. Attach nylon netting to the trellis frame with leftover pieces of netting (that you cut off one end of the netting, if desired) or something else (like our zip ties).
Voila! Super-sturdy climbing supports for vining crops.
We’ll let you know how this part of the first experiment works out…. UPDATE: Our trellises have weathered three years of climbing crops and are still going strong! These babies are solid.
And stay tuned for Garden Experiment Número Dos, including all the gory details (really) of how it all went amiss. Don’t worry, this part is back on track now, too, and I’ll keep you posted on our progress as the growing season continues here at our Yankee Homestead.
Note: We followed the instructions in Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening.
If you’ve had success climbing vining crops, we’d love to hear about it! Share your tips below…
Kathleen Henderson is the yankee behind the homestead. Follow along as we grow real food and three boys while renovating a 20-acre farm in northern Virginia. Do you love homegrown food, Paleo-ish recipes, and natural living? You’re in good company! Let’s grow together…