It's finally Spring! Time to clean out the garden beds and hope for a green thumb. This year, I'm expanding my garden beds vertically by adding a DIY Garden Trellis to each of my square foot gardening beds. (I really wish this was a picture of my garden, but it belongs to my uncle, a Master Gardener who taught me his garden trellis secrets!)
Quick gardening story first . . .
These little critters have been devouring the spinach in my garden like it's their own private salad bar! Unfortunately, they are also the best friends of this little girl.
Every time I snatch one from the garden to squash it, I hear a little voice pleading, "Don't squish my friend!" Now, instead of squashing them, I throw them as far into the field as possible.
The things we do for our little ones. Even when it comes to sacrificing our spinach crop. Sigh . . . I think it's getting too hot for the spinach plants now, anyway.
So, inspired by my little bug girl, here comes a GARDENING PROJECT:
DIY Garden Trellis
I love to garden, but gardening in the desert is a little tricky. Since the local soil is terrible, I square foot garden in raised beds. Once I figured out how much to water, the garden started to flourish--so much that my squash and melon vines overtook the entire garden and spilled out several feet into the yard. My uncle is a master gardener, and he gave me a great idea with his design for a garden trellis.
Isn't his garden beautiful? Mine is not that pretty (especially since the yard isn't finished, and it's surrounded by dirt), but I am learning how to make things bloom in the desert. Come mid-summer, my trellises will be overflowing with vines.
Here's my garden--muddy footprints, dirt landscaping, background weeds, and all. It's not pretty, but it works for me. (Someday I'll have rocks or pretty pavers around the garden. Someday.)
Before I get into the details, you have probably already noticed that the corners of my uncle's trellises are beautifully rounded, while mine are simply bent. He owns a pipe bender, so he was able to make his corners perfectly smooth. I don't have access to a pipe bender, but I do have a strong husband. His result wasn't as pretty, but it was a great alternative to spending $40 to buy a new tool! Here's our knock-off version:
Since I didn't do the actual building, I'm not going to even try giving a step-by-step tutorial. I will give you the basic idea, though. (I'll put in lots of pictures. Hopefully, they'll help!)
You will need:
- 8-10 foot lengths of ½" electrical conduit pipe (The amount you choose will depend on how tall you want your trellis.)
- 24" lengths of ½ rebar, 2 per box (I actually used 36" lengths, but anything over 24" should be fine.
- Electrical conduit connectors (In the below image, the connector is on the side, but it all depends on the length of your pipe and the size of your garden bed. Your connector may end up on top.)
- Nylon garden trellis mesh
- Staple gun
So that the vines on your trellis don't shade the other plants, put the trellis on the north or east side of your box. The rebar will support your frame.
- Pound a length of rebar into the ground where you plan to put your trellis. (Your pipe will slide over the rebar.) You need two lengths of rebar for each box--one for each side of the trellis. Pound them in about half the length of the rebar.
- Using a pipe bender (or my free method described below) bend the pipe at the height you want, then slide it over the rebar. Repeat with another length of pipe on the other side.
- Trim excess pipe length if the two pipes overlap, and then connect the pipes with electrical conduit connectors.
- Tie on the garden trellis mesh and trim off the extra. To stretch it tight, staple the bottom of the mesh to your box.
Here's how my strong hubby bent the pipe. Just place it behind a strong pole or beam, hold the bar with one hand on each side, and pull the bar toward you. (That's a post from our play set. If you don't have a play set, try a local park or school. We used to have poles supporting the roof in our unfinished basement as kids. They would have worked perfectly for this!)
So far, the trellises have worked great for my peas. They grew almost all the way to the top! (Last year, with no trellis, they got about 6" high.)
Let me know if it works for you! I'd love to see how it turns out.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll stick around. Check out some of my other gardening posts (images are linked):