Saturday, April 21, 2012

DIY Trellisses... no tools required

I first decided to build trellisses for my garden when I realized that I had planted my cucumbers to close together. The cucumbers are not an issue at the moment, since they all died, but I have replanted some and will get more in this week. I searched gardening blogs and pinterest for weeks trying to come up with something that I could build on my own that was also cheap and relatively quick to build. Through my searches I found that you can pretty much make a trellis out of anything... you just need a little imagination, time and patience (that one I'm a little lacking in sometimes). While digging around in the shelter where my husband stores the heavy equipment for his forestry business, I found a huge pile of approximately 1x1 stakes that are about 6 feet long... perfect for my project! They are, I believe, old tobacco stakes that he and his dad salvaged from an old barn that was being torn down a few years ago. I'm not sure what type of wood they are but they are weathered and smooth in some spots, they should hold up well in the garden.

I used a hammer to help drive the stakes a few inches into the ground at equal intervals around the base of the plant. (this step is much easier to do if the ground is wet) I used twine to secure the top. Then starting at the base wrapped the twine around the poles leaving a few inches between rows (make sure you can easily fit your hand through or harvesting could be tricky). Last, I ran a piece of twine down the center from top to bottom. On the first one I used 3 pieces, but then decided that one piece would be sufficient for the rest.

Through my searches I discovered that there are many benefits to growing vegetables vertically. So, even though the cukes don't need them right now, I built them for my squash and zucchini. Most people with small backyard gardens do it to save space, but it also helps prevent disease and pest problems when your veggies are up in the air instead of laying in the dirt. Keeping the plants weed-free and harvesting should also be easier and I won't have to worry about my kids stepping on them when they help in the garden. Last, but certainly not least, they trellisses are pretty and should be gorgeous when the vines are covering them. So, far I have built 8 of them, but I will be building more when the cucumbers start growing.

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