Build Your Own Vegetable Trellis

Short on garden space? If you build a trellis you'll get at least two crops of veggies and/or fruits in the same space as it takes to grow just one. Plus, as your plants are trained to grow upwards, they will get more light and air. And sunnier, dryer conditions mean less mildew and mold.

You'll need:
(2) 8-ft. wooden fence posts
2 wooden stakes
24-ft. wire
Staple gun with staples
10 x 6-ft. of plastic netting
1 box of S-hooks
Pliers

To build a trellis, take two 8 foot tall wooden posts (found at your local hardware store), place them 10 feet a part and drive them into the ground 2 feet deep. To make the trellis sturdy, drive one wooden stake at an angle toward the foot of each post. Wrap flexible but sturdy wire around one stake, up to the top of the post and staple it there. Then run the wire over to the other fence post, wrap it around the post and secure it with staples. Run the wire down to the other wooden stake. To keep the trellis sturdy, make sure to knot the wire on each wooden stake using a pliers if necessary.

Now attach the netting (it can be found at your local Home & Garden Showplace). Space S-hooks every 12-15 inches across the wire between the posts. Unroll and hang netting from the S-hooks (kind of like a shower curtain). To keep the netting taut as you unroll it, staple the netting to each post with your staple gun. Move downwards stapling every 2-3 inches to the bottom of each post.

Remember, as the fruit or vegetables become bigger and heavier they'll need added support. Create a support network by making slings out of cheesecloth, cut up old T-shirts or old nylons. Tie the cloth or nylons to the netting and around the fruit or vegetable when it's just beginning to take form. Adjust the size of the sling as it gets bigger.

Planting Tip:
Early spring is a good time to plant peas on your trellis, but wait until there is no danger of frost to plant other fruits and vegetables. When planting peas, leave 6-8 inches of space where you can later plant other fruits or veggies. The peas and other vines won't bother each other so go ahead and plan on planting cucumbers, melons or even squash together on the same trellis.