Gardening (and living) between the stumps. Anything is possible.

Building Trellises: The Garden Grows Up

Building Trellises: The Garden Grows Up

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How do you grow vegetables in a small space? You grow up. Specifically, you build a garden trellis for the climbing plants to climb. I do this every year with peas, beans, cucumbers and tomatoes.

I don’t have acres of farmland, but the deep, rich soil I’ve built up in my raised beds will support extensive vertical growth. Of the various methods I’ve tried, bamboo poles and baling twine have worked the best for me. Saplings never last more than a year or two, and metal structures are not only limiting, but expensive as well. The bamboo is a relatively small investment, and I’ve used the bundle of 8-foot poles for 5 years now.

My garden trellis design is a little different every year. In my early garden days, I built three-pole tipi-shaped structures and laid a strong pole across the top. This year, my main supporting poles are vertical, with bracing in two directions. This is the foundation; the details depend on your plants, because each type has different growth habits.

Pole beans are strong climbers and grow straight up, inches every day if the weather is right. Vertical lines from the top pole to the bottom are great for this; I use baling twine, but any string or even poles would work. For tomatoes, I start with the same basic structure, then tie a string loosely from the base of each plant to the top supporting pole. As the plants grow, I wind the string around the main stem. I’ve done this for years and it works beautifully.

Building trellises is a great way to extend your gardening space. I really enjoy the creative process, and I think my structures improve every year. Combined with companion planting, this method of growing opens the door to all kinds of beautiful garden spaces!

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