Do you have trellis in your garden?
When there is not much happening in the garden it is a great time to get creative. Even better if you can create an art piece in the garden as well as something that has a function. That got me thinking about trellising.
The better productivity of a climbing plant is a great bonus for providing a good bounty of vegetables and flowers. We have many customers who are not interested in buying anything that grows tall enough to need support. It is such a shame as trellis is easy to create and due to its upright nature, actually leaves space in the garden for more planting.
Your trellis doesn't have to be expensive and nor does it have to look perfect as the plants will cover it up. In fact, the imperfection helps to achieve that rustic look which I think suits most gardens.
One of the easiest trellis to create is the bamboo poles and string arrangement. If you know someone who has bamboo growing in their garden, its a very cheap option. To get a few seasons use from your bamboo, take it out of the garden when your summer crop has finished and store in a dry place.
Setting up trellis in a container or planter box takes very little time. It has become my "go-to" in the garden as we are in temporary accommodation so I am not ready to set up a permanent garden just yet. Last summer I grew quite a few varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and beans all in pots with bamboo & string tee-pee style trellising. Then in autumn I planted some sweet peas for some spring colour and they are quite happily growing up the verandah post with a bit of bamboo trellis as well. Took me all of 10 minutes to set this up.
Another easy and relatively inexpensive trellis can be made by putting a couple of pieces of timber such as 4x2 offcuts, into the garden as posts. Two metres high is a good measure for most runner plants and then attach some netting or run rows of twine between the posts. To stabilise the posts, pop a bit of concrete around the bottom of each post or nail them to your garden edging. Another bit of wood or metal poles placed between the top of your posts will also help to stabilise them.
Twine is a great cheap option for creating the climbing material for your plants. When clearing out the garden after the summer crop has finished you can just chop the twine and the plant down all together and restring in spring. Using chicken wire or plastic netting (can be purchased at garden centres or hardware stores) will provide a more long-term option. A simple lattice shape can be made with inexpensive strapping wood that can be left natural or painted. The options are endless.
Here are a few more great ideas for creating trellis:
Bike rims on a central pole. One at the top and one at the bottom and run string from top to bottom all the way around. (see right)
Triangular roof top style tee pee. Poles in a ^ shape at each end with a central pole running along the top. Run twine vertically from bottom, over the top to the bottom of the other side.
Re-purpose old airing racks for clothes. Run twine between the horizontals.
Use bendy tree branches such as willow. Strip the foliage and side branches from bigger branches and shape as required.
Natural wood branches tied together in a lattice shape. This trellis can be made small for sitting in containers or larger to go in your garden beds.
Re-use the frame from an outdoor sun umbrella as a tee-pee. (see right)
Wire mesh that is used to strengthen concrete can be bent to make an archway tunnel or attached to a wall using blocks of wood as a spacer.
Re-purpose a wire wove bed.
Plumbing pvc pipe and connect using the joints to create a shape such as a square or rectangle.
Re-purpose a gate or fencing.
Re-purpose a french door or window frames with the glass removed. (see right)
Put trellis around the trunk of a tree to grow a climber.
Attach an arched trellis frame to your building, around the downpipe.
The main shapes to keep in mind when thinking about creating your trellis are: