How do you decide which type of trellising is right for your garden? As we begin to start our seeds and (in southern regions) plant our starts out, the garden's structural design is at the front of each gardener's mind. The best way to utilize space in the garden is to grow vertically with trellising. Trellising supports come in various shapes and sizes. As we study the four main trellis designs, you'll gain a better understanding of which is best for your garden space.
Let's get started.
Poles or Staking method
The first method for growing up is staking. This is the easiest and most popular method. Pole trellises are very popular with sturdy plants like tomatoes. Tomatoes mainly require support to maximize their harvest. Indeterminate tomatoes will do very well with a single-stem growing method. As you prune the "sucker" stems, the fruit will continually grow at the top of the plant. It may look silly at first, but using stakes as big as 6 ft tall will allow your tomatoes to thrive all season. Small, pole-style stakes can be helpful for pepper plants or smaller, determinate tomato varieties to give extra support. Materials for this method at every price range are (cheapest) a sturdy branch that is sharpened at one end, (very affordable) wooden stakes like these, or (affordable, but slightly more expensive) t-posts from a local garden supply store.
Cage-style trellises are another easily accessible option for growing vertically in the garden. Tomato cages are normally inexpensive and can be used on many varieties of plants. Determinate tomatoes are an obvious choice; but peppers, peas, and any well-rooted plant can benefit from this design. For a romantic touch to the garden, you can make cage trellises out of fallen branches found in your yard, or store-bought bamboo poles. This method is essentially an upside-down tomato cage with the smallest point being at the top instead of the bottom. This design promoted airflow for plants that have a bushy growth habit. Peppers, for example, are less prone to disease when this method is used. For a tutorial on an easy how-to video, click here.
Straight-line Trellis (Close line/twine)
Trellises can easily become a huge expense in the garden. The cost for trellises becomes incredibly high when you buy pre-made beautiful trellises from hardware or garden supply stores. These trellises are functional if you are hoping to add a bit of sophistication to your garden space, and if you aren't aiming to grow maximum yields in your home garden. However, for anyone looking to preserve or share their harvest with others, $20-$35 per trellis adds up quickly. Straight-line trellises are the best design for growing climbing varieties with small fruit like pole beans, cucumbers, and peas. For a D.I.Y. version, wrapping close line, wire, or twine to a row of t-posts will be exactly what you need. Here's a video tutorial to help you get an idea of how easy it can be to make a trellis like this.
Cattle Panel Trellis
The cattle panel trellis has the potential to be the tallest and most showstopping trellis in your garden. Every variety previously mentioned in this post can be grown on a cattle panel trellis. However, even larger vining crops like melons and vining squash can grow on this structure. Larger fruits will need support once they grow in size. Luke has an awesome tutorial on that on the MIgardener youtube channel. Two-Four t-posts combined with the fencing of your choice (cattle panels recommended) is a fantastic way to secure your trellis down. In a home garden where crop rotation isn't as necessary year after year, this arched trellis can become a staple in your garden design for good.
For any garden of any size, growing vertically will only benefit your space. Trellises will aerate your plants and save them from blight caused by excess moisture. Harvesting is a breeze when your plants are up off of the ground. Additionally, the beauty this growing style will bring to your space is unmatched. There are far too many positives to deny this growing method. I hope you have been inspired to try some of these techniques in your own garden.
– Kaitlynn from MIgardener
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