Well, we’ve already talked a bit about the trellising plants up and keeping them off the ground for a number of reasons. But also you can use trellising to help guide the plant in a direction you want as well as go vertical to save space. I haven’t gotten my trellis system for my cucumbers set up yet, but a wonderful kind friend of mine from Oklahoma is allowing me to use some of her photos to provide some trellising ideas. Now, they are a bit farther ahead in the season they we are, so the pictures of the watermelons and all the vining plants will look much bigger than what you might have here in Illinois. I could only wish that my garden was as far along, but things are starting to pop. Yeah!
So, since melons, cucumbers, etc. will end up being much heavier than something like sugar snap peas, you’ll need to take some extra care as to how you develop your trellis system. Once they begin to develop actual edible parts, the plants get heavy very quickly. So, the happy little system that I devised for sugar snaps just won’t cut it. You can find trellis netting at various stores, but don’t use the netting for keeping critters out. The mesh is way to fine and has the potential to damage the vines as they grow then the mesh cuts into the vines. Well then you have a very sad plant.
Solid stakes and jute twine can be used as a solid trellis system as long as everything is tied well and tight. You don’t want the twine to sag with the weight of the plant.
The plants in the pictures are watermelons. The variety shouldn’t produce fruit any bigger than about 10 lbs. If you can see in the picture, the pols are an upside down V and than netting/twine on both sides. Now I’ll have to deal with the fact that my cucumbers won’t have space on each side, just the one since they’ll be growing along a fence. If you are in a situation like that you’ll need to be careful so that trellis system is far enough out from the fence that the plants can wrap around the trellis system, but not so far out that you can reach the other side if needed.
Here’s another example of a trellis system that is guiding plants a direction you want them to go.
Solid wood trellis, if buried deep enough for support can be used upright as well. The big thing, is making sure that they eventual weight of the plant one eventually knock the entire trellis system over. That’s why the V-shaped trellis systems work so well, stability.
A solid trellis system is really important for any plant that is growing on it. be it clematis, wisteria (I love Wisteria! You just have to have a lot of patience for it to bloom, like 6 to 8 years of patience.), climbing roses, etc.
I’m hoping that this gives you a bit of an idea of trellis systems for larger plants. I would highly recommend getting your trellis system figured out while plants are still small. You want that system to be in place so once they start vining it’s there for them to grab onto and you can guide them onto it if necessary.
My project for this week will be working on my own trellis system for my cucumbers so that I can share additional ideas with you. I’d love to see what other trellis innovations you have had for trellis plants, feel free to send my pictures and I would love to post them here on the blog for others to see.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled playing in the garden.