Three Trellis Ideas for Vertical Vegetables

comments (4) June 29th, 2013

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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A four-sided wooden box makes an interesting tomato cage for a small-space garden.
Use leftover lumber and concrete-reinforcing wire mesh to build a square tomato cage. A colorful paint job adds interest to the garden.
Build a simple frame for vining vegetables; keep the legs long for added support.
No carpentry skills? No worries. Just place an old ladder in the garden and plant around it.
A four-sided wooden box makes an interesting tomato cage for a small-space garden.Click To Enlarge

A four-sided wooden "box" makes an interesting tomato cage for a small-space garden.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

If you've ever tried to prop up a healthy tomato plant with a flimsy tomato cage, you know there has to be a better way. Even conventional tomato cages that are a bit more sturdy can topple over when the plant is loaded with nearly-ripe fruit.

Some gardeners solve that tomato dilemma by staking their tomatoes. Staking works, but it requires gardeners to be vigilant and keep tying up the vines. A freestanding trellis is a sensible solution for growing vines up string suspended from an A-frame trellis.

I've also talked with gardeners who create their own heavy-duty tomato cages by taking sheets of concrete-reinforcing wire mesh and bending the mesh into a circular shape. The wire ends fold over to hold the cage closed. Concrete reinforcing rods (rebar) is placed through the mesh to keep the cages upright in windy weather.

Here are three more ideas for taming vines in your small-space garden:

New Take on a Tomato Cage

If you have some leftover lumber and concrete reinforcing wire, you can box in your plants. The four sides allow for plenty of planting space for tomatoes to climb. Painting the wooden cage a bright color adds a creative element to the garden.

Simple Frame for Vining Vegetables

A simpler version of the tomato box is a single frame. Instead of building four sides, build just one frame and cover with the wire mesh. Long legs pushed deep into the soil will hold the frame in place.

New Life for an Old Ladder

If you don't have any woodworking skills, don't worry. An old wooden ladder placed in the garden makes a fine trellis without any sawing, hammering or nailing.

Do you have any trellis ideas for small-space gardens? Please add them here.

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posted in: trellis, vertical vegetables

Comments (4)

RegunRoy writes: Its shocking
Posted: 2:41 am on January 26th
Mary14889 writes: Not an original idea but I use cattle panels (4 x 16 ft) for cucurbits to climb. It's easier to find the cukes hanging from the trellis than when they are hidden under the foliage on the ground (though that still happens)
Posted: 10:18 am on February 17th
WesternGardener writes: Hi Mike--thanks for your comment. It seems every gardener has a favorite way to keep tomatoes in line. If you run across other ideas, please share them with us.

Posted: 12:54 pm on July 2nd
MikeTheGardener writes: Thanks for the project ideas. I am always looking for creative ways to keep my tomatoes upright.
Posted: 8:17 am on July 2nd
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