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Building Trellises for the New Garden Beds

Last winter, we decided to try a new location for some garden beds in our back yard. The location had the advantages of zone 1 proximity to our house, fenced protection from some pests, more morning sun and less afternoon sun. Here is my previous post about the new beds.

The plan was to construct some trellises over these beds to support tomatoes and climbers like cucumbers. After I got the plants in the ground this spring, it was time to get the trellises built. I wanted to build something very simple to test the location, so it needed to be easy to assemble and disassemble later if I want to change the design.

I gathered some pressure-treated 2x6s and 2x4s from the hardware store. I use coated exterior screws for jobs that I want to be able to take apart later. To avoid wasting lumber, I didn’t cut any of the boards either. A little extra length hanging off the end wouldn’t hurt since I was building something for vines to climb on. Using this approach, the trellises could be taken apart and all the materials reused.

The main 2×6 supports are buried about 12″ and attached to the sides of the beds. The hole is filled with gravel rather than dirt, as I think this will hold it in place better. The rest of the supports are attached with screws and braced with some extra 2x4s. If this works well, I will eventually add some permanent braces. On the other hand, I might tear it down and redesign it. Time and careful observation will determine that.

The wires are old scraps of CAT5 wire left over from longer pulls. You could also use materials like garden hose or rope. I like to use remnants wherever possible before buying something.

In this first picture, the construction has begun:

Simple Construction Begins

Simple Construction Begins

Here the wires have been installed on the first trellis vertically and horizontally. The idea is that the horizontal part if high enough to walk under to mow, harvest fruit, and do other maintenance:

Wires Installed on First Trellis

Wires Installed on First Trellis

Here I’ve started on the 2nd trellis. I designed it so the back support for the first bed doubles as the front support for the 2nd bed:

Work Started on the 2nd Trellis

Work Started on the 2nd Trellis

In this last picture, you can see the cucumbers have started climbing the wires and the tomatoes are well supported between the wires:

Cucumbers Climbing and Tomatoes Supported

Cucumbers Climbing and Tomatoes Supported

As the season goes on, it will be interesting to see if the cucumbers get big enough to climb on the upper portion of the trellis. So far they haven’t gotten that far. Being a first year bed, the soil might not be built up enough to support that much growth. This winter I plan to add another course of boards on the beds to make them deeper, and add a lot more soil and wood chips. Hopefully next year will be an even better season.

Please share your thoughts and opinions in the Comments.
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