What do zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and melon plants all have in common? They grow as vines and can take up a lot of garden space. Adding special trellis not only creates vertical growing space but the plants also benefit from additional air flow and avoid getting damaged (or munched on by pests) on the ground.
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Using Trellis to Grow Up
This isn’t a new idea but I saw this example of a food vine trellis on a garden tour recently and really liked it.
Some vine plants are incredible space hogs (I’m talking to you, melons!) and it’s a smart idea to have a few of these trellises on hand at planting time instead of scrambling to accommodate a python-like vine later on.
Build it to Fit Your Veggies
The trellis pictured here is simple to make and would be great for cucumbers and zucchini. As the vine grows, it will cling to the wire mesh, and eventually the fruit (cucumbers) will hang from the underside of the trellis.
Some squashes and melons grow very long vines and they may need to grow up the front and right down the back of the trellis, which is fine, really, if it helps save space and you still end up with a good harvest.
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For wire you could use hog or cattle panels (a type of wire mesh). I wouldn’t use chicken wire or lead-free or stainless steel hardware cloth because the small grid size of the mesh would not allow the fruit to hang down.
How It’s Constructed
The main frame is actually two identical frames with the wire mesh (often sold as ‘hog panels’ or ‘cattle panels’) sandwiched in between.
Also see: The Best Wood to Use for Raised Garden Beds.
The unit has two legs, plus a back support and two crossbars. Choose galvanized outdoor (“deck”) wood screws so your unit will last a long time.
As the plants grow, encourage them to aim toward the trellis. You can do this at planting time if you are transplanting starter plants—plant them on a slight angle so they will grow toward the trellis. As the plants mature, they will grow tendrils that actually wrap around the wires, hanging on as they grow. Plants are so cool!
Cucumbers and zucchini shouldn’t need additional support, but the larger crops like squashes and melons may need extra help with cut up cotton t-shirts, stockings, or plastic mesh food bags, to tie them in place if the fruit is big and heavy.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛