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Use Simple Trellises to Grow More Food

Use Simple Trellises to Grow More Food

Gardeners, whether you’re tight on gardening space or not, growing on trellises can increase yields, make harvesting easier, and allow you to grow more food in a given space.

Many people always use cages and stakes for growing tomatoes (the plants would be a sore sight if not), but you can use vertical gardening techniques for loads of crops. One of my favorite crops to grow on trellises is actually cucumbers. Doing so is much more efficient and leads to better fruits than letting the cukes vine out from a mound on the ground.

To grow vining crops such as cucumbers and melons vertically, a great trellis option is a livestock panel. The panels are sturdy and have large holes so you can get your hand through for harvesting. The cucumbers grow right up the panel, meaning that the fruits aren’t lying on the ground—so they won’t get that yellowish coloring on their undersides. You’ll be amazed at how little space it takes to grow a bumper crop of cukes.

 Beans and peas are also great crops to support with trellises. My preferred option for growing pole beans is to create tipis out of tall bamboo stakes. Pound the ends of each stake into the ground first (I use six poles per tipi), then tie the tops of the stakes together with twine. If you’re into reusing and repurposing materials like me, you can also make teepees out of downed tree branches.

For many more tips on growing vertically in your garden, check out these resources, all of which provide advice on building different kinds of trellises and supports for your crops:

If you have any ideas for homemade trellises that you’ve used in your garden, please share them with everyone in the comments section. Happy gardening!

Related Care2 articles that help you get the most out of your growing space:

Photo by Elayne Sears

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Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable, self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic Gardening content and the Vegetable Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening, small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The Rowdy Radish.

54 comments

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11:21AM PDT on Jun 3, 2014

If you're going to grow any melon, large zucchini or other item such as cucumbers, and aren't going to harvest them very early, then you're going to need to sling the fruit in some way. Old panty hose work, as do the mesh bags from grocers. I've even seen people use old pieces of T-shirts, but if you don't protect the fruit from the weight, they'll pull off before being fully ripe.

1:22AM PDT on Apr 14, 2013

Thanks

3:33PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Very good ideas and great information. Thanks. Shared.

6:09AM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Noted..

3:13AM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

ty

3:03AM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Thank you :)

5:27AM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

Thank you Shelly, for Sharing this!

3:07AM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

Thanks

1:05AM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

thanks :)

8:04AM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Great article, thank you so much for the tips.

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