Now that spring is here and plants are growing upward, it’s a great time to think about putting in a trellis to support your plants. My garden staff, otherwise known as my husband, has installed multiple trellis supports made of metal tubing that have lasted for years without any breakdown.
To make the trellis support frame you need:
¾” or 1” steel tube electrical conduit (cut to height and width you require for your specific box size)
2 pcs – 90 degree corner fittings (per trellis support)
2 pcs -4 ft long rebar (to hold the trellis frame in place).
Assemble the Tubes and corner fittings to make a “U” shaped frame. Then pound the rebar into the ground at the two points where you want the trellis support to stand. Be sure to leave 12-18” of the rebar sticking up to support the trellis. Slide the legs of the trellis frame over the rebar and VOILÀ! You have a trellis support frame.
Netting can be easily attached to the support frame with twist ties, zip ties or string if you prefer.
If you prefer to avoid store-bought netting, you can also use twine or string instead. First, we mount screws on the top of the perimeter of the garden boxes placed approx. 4 inches apart, leaving about ½” of the screw head sticking up.
For your base supports, secure a piece of string across the width of the box, securing it into the screws on each side along each row of plants. This is the bottom support (base) for your string in that row.
For the support of each plant, attach one end of the string to the top bar of the trellis support frame and the other end to the base string. You can see my example here:
This process can be a bit more time consuming than installing a garden net, however, it is less expensive and you can customize the configuration depending on what you’re growing and the spacing required.
Spring peas and pole beans climb nicely up the string with minimal guidance. Tomatoes work fantastically as long as the string is tied securely. As the main stem of the tomato grows, gently wrap it around the string. This eliminates the need for cages and assists the tomatoes that can grow 8-10 feet tall!
There are indeterminate and determinate tomatoes; here is a good explanation of the difference http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=16937 . Happy growing!