Building an Easy Garden Trellis for Fruits and Veggies

August 31, 2010

A couple of recent emails requested information on building a homemade garden trellis. Growing vertically is such a great way to save space and even increase yields for crops such as cucumbers, squash, pole beans, and other climbing vegetables.

Today I’ll share one of my favorite methods to construct a simple trellis in the home garden, but first here are the questions that were submitted inquiring about making a homemade garden trellis:

Seeking a Quick Fix for Trellising Garden Vegetables

Hi Kenny! I stumbled onto one of your videos when looking for tips on trellises for the garden. You were building a rabbit proof fence. I went to your website and saw your email address for contact. — BTW nice website!

I needed a quick fix in my organic raised bed garden and wanted to use a few trellises to help support squash, cucumbers, melons, tomatoes and beans. Yes, I am ambitious for a novice with raised beds.

I found some trellises at the local Home Depot and Lowe’s, but nothing on any of the packaging could tell me if they were untreated and safe for an organic garden. I called around to one company and found that the wooden trellises are stained with color, but no varnish had been applied. I am not sure that they are okay for a true “organic” garden. I would appreciate any help. Thanks, Prana

Complying with Organic Certification Regulations

Thanks Prana, I never gave much thought to whether the material used to support climbing crops needed to be untreated or not in order to comply with organic certification requirements. Like most organic backyard gardeners I follow organic practices but don’t go through the expense and formal regulatory process of organic certification that organic farmers must comply with.

After a little research it appears that the national organic certification regulations do spell out the types of building materials that can be used and do prohibit the use of treated wood in instances where the organic crop comes in contact with the treated wood or the soil that comes in contact with the treated wood. That rule applies to garden trellises, fences, and even greenhouses if you are seeking organic certification.

Here’s one more email and then I’ll share the simple solution that I use to build a simple garden trellises that’s great for supporting climbing fruits and vegetables in the backyard garden:

Dear Mr. Point: I enjoyed your various article on gardening. I am a retired Army Infantry Officer who truly enjoys gardening. Sir, do you have an example of a trellis for my summer squash. I have limited space. Your assistance is greatly appreciated Respectfully, L. Hampton

Thanks Mr. Hampton, and yes I do have an example of a homemade garden trellis that I use which may be helpful to you and Prana. The trellis is inexpensive, easy to set up, durable, and can be adapted to fit your particular needs, crops, and situations.

Using Fencing Wire to Construct a Homemade Garden Trellis

This garden trellis is made with the rolls of vinyl-clad fencing wire that you can purchase from home and garden centers. The wire makes an excellent trellis for plants such as pole beans, squash, melons, and cucumbers to climb.

It doesn’t work as good for tomatoes, but check out my tomato trellising video for a great solution to support tomatoes. I attach the wire to the top of an out building that I have in the garden and then anchor it to the ground. That gives me a trellis over 15 feet tall for plants to climb up on.

Another option would be to use tall metal fence posts and attach the wire fencing to that or even fashion some type of A-Frame where the plants can climb up one side and down the other for support. Use your imagination to create similar trellis applications around your own home and garden.

Nylon netting material can be used instead of the wire fencing but I like the wire fencing much better and think that it is sturdier and more durable. I set my wire fencing trellis up about four years ago and have been using it ever since.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • Yan

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll have to try that next year. My parents build trellises using spare wood sticks, tree branches, old broom handles, etc, all tied together using twine in a tent shape. When bare it looks kind of hodge-podge, but once covered with leaves, the sticks are well hidden. And it allows the “fruits” to hang down freely. I also saw another lady who built a trellis in a small area by building a circular/cone shaped trellis with a small ring at the top and a larger ring at the bottom, with the space between them interlaced with twine. She then planted climbing vegetables near the base around the larger bottom ring.

  • Paul

    Kenny, looks pretty quick and easy. How do you attach and support the top and bottom of the fencing wire?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Paul, I just used staples to tack the top of fencing wire under the roof of the out building. I attached the bottom of the fencing to four metal fence posts that were staked in a line where the wire fence reached the ground.

  • dee bertelsen

    We moved from CA to MS. There was this mind set, we don’t do that in MS….
    For 2 yrs tried to get son to use fences for veggies..NOPE!

    Soooo… I bought some dog wire, and some polls and made it for my asian beans. This year I have 4 fences!! If you zig zag the plants on either side of wire you will get twice as much.
    we had 3 X the amt of kukes, beans, and tomatoes.

    Another idea..use soaker hoses. Harbor Freight has some really good ones. You only water the ground. Half the weeds, half the water bill.
    We water twice a week..and when done the water is down in the ground 6-8 inches
    Lv these forums….

  • john mcmillan

    Instead of soaker hose I am using Ro-drip tape with 12 inch spacing. I beleive it is easier to handle and lasts longer. Takes a little more to set up but much easier to handle. Also last longer than standard soaker hose. As far as trellising ( i trellised cantaloupes and cucumbers this year)
    I used 6 inch mesh nylon netting and used home made “slings” to support large sugarqueen mellons(as heavy as 6 pounds) on a 8×10 trellis with 8 plants. Also used sisal on three frames in a crossing measure. It had some sag but did support vines and fruit well

  • Tom

    Any ideas for a trellis for inside? I have some hydroponic cucumbers growing and soon they will be tall enough where they will need support. Any ideas on supports for indoor plants?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Tom, I would try a frame of wire fencing material if you can design something to support it. Even netting or string suspended from the ceiling might work also.

  • Tom

    Humm. Don’t really want to mess up the walls or ceiling. However, It may be my only choice. Maybe I’ll just drape a curtain of that trellis roping material.

  • Becky

    My two cucumber plants have gone crazy but I looked underneath the beautiful canopy of leaves today and discovered tiny mushrooms growing and alot of dead cucumber leaves. Is it too late to trellis my cucumbers? Is it too late for my cucumbers all together? We have so many blossoms and a few small cucumbers, I would be really sad to have to pull them up now.

  • Kenny Point

    Becky, it’s not too late to trellis the cukes but it may not be worth the effort at this point. You should get some production from the fruits that have already set. If you want to trellis them just tie the ends of the vines onto the trellis to get them started and they will climb just fine.

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