Creative Ways to Trellis!
Today we’re going to learn about ways in which to make your trellises more fun. Learn about squash tunnels, bean teepees and more! There are a plethora of materials you can use and a bunch of ways to make a simple trellis multi-useful as well as fun for the whole family!
Benefits of trellises:
- They save space in your garden
- Help prevent disease on crops like tomatoes and cucumbers
- Make it easier to harvest
Different ways to trellis:
Squash Tunnels: While it may sound daunting, squash tunnels are actually very simple to make. All you need is: 4 tall stakes (T-posts are best), Ranch panel fencing, sturdy zip ties, and the crops you plan to plant i.e. squash, cucumbers, zucchini.
- Choose a sunny, flat space and determine how big you want it to be.
- Set stakes 12” into the ground, two on each side equidistant apart.
- Attach the ranch panel fencing (you will probably need help for this part). Using your zip ties, attach the panel to the outside edge of the stakes on one side, then curve it overhead to be attached to the stakes on the other side.
- Plant your vining veggies on the inside of the tunnel, close to the ranch panel.
- Bean Tepees: These are great for a low-cost project and are especially helpful for getting your beans off the ground in a fun way! All you need is: 8 foot long sticks (can be bamboo poles, saplings cut off trees, or inexpensive poles from a local store), and string.
- Choose a sunny spot that gets at least 5 hours of sunlight a day. Make sure the soil you’re digging into is nutrient rich.
- Line your poles in a circle about 3’ in diameter. You can use a circular trash lid as a guide, if needed. Each pole should be about a foot apart all around the circle.
- Tie the string around the tops of each pole and interlace them so that they are all connected.
- To help the beans get a grip on the structure, tie string in a trellis-like fashion around the poles, starting at the bottom and making your way up.
- Plant your beans.
- Vertical Trellising for Melons: If you’ve grown melons before, you know that they take up A LOT of space and as they mature, become a sprawling mess. Growing melons vertically can help make more space in your garden AND create a healthy growing space. The #1 thing you need to pay special attention to is getting STURDY materials. Melons are dense fruits and therefore need support, so they don’t fall and burst. You can use: hog fencing, wooden lattices, or livestock panels along with steel posts (at least 3), and wire.
- Drive at least 3 posts per 16 foot panel into the ground about 8 inches away from your row of melons. Then set the panels so that the base sits about 8 inches away from you melons on the sunnier side. (You may also choose to lay the paneling against an existing fence such as a privacy fence.)
- Attach the panel to the posts with jute twine or wire.
- As the melons grow, you’ll need to help them onto the trellis. They are not natural climbers. You will want to tie them here and there to keep them there. Old pieces of cloth will work just fine.
- Once melons start to become heavy, I suggest you sling them and tie each side of the fabric to the paneling so they don’t fall and burst.