Friday, April 6, 2012

Do it yourself (and easy!) garden trellis

A 10x10-foot garden is a tight space even with the efficient "keyhole" design that minimizes the amount of pathways. So like any valuable piece of real estate like, say, Manhattan, the only thing to do is go up, and garden trellises can help a small footprint produce a lot of food in the air.

This year I am going to grow snap peas and a variety of climbing tomato on trellises. My friend Diane showed me a sturdy by simple to build trellis design that I want to share here. With these instructions, some basic tools, you can build and install one of these in less than an hour.

Get these into your garden now and plant some peas!

Material list to build two 5'5" tall and 5'5" wide trellises

You can get all of this at most hardware stores. This will cost about $50 up front, but all the metal materials can be used for years and years, and the netting can be resused for a couple of years.

  • (3) 10' sticks of 3/4" EMT electrical conduit ($3.45 each)
  • (4) 90-degree EMT elbows ($3.64 each)
  • (8) 3/4" connectors with set screws ($3.48 for a pack of 5)
  • (2) 10' sticks of 1/2" re-bar (reinforcing bar) usually found in the building supplies section of the store ($5.20 each)
  • a mallet or sledge hammer 
  • a screwdriver 
  • a hack saw 
  • trellis netting (found at most garden centers) ($10 ??)
  • twine or nylon zip ties 

Cut all three sticks of electrical conduit and the two sticks of rebar in half with the hacksaw.

To create the top cross piece, attach two 90-degree pieces to one piece of conduit and tighten it down.

Set the assembled cross piece with corners down on the ground and mark where you want the uprights to be placed. Drive the rebar half way (or so) into the ground.

Assemble the trellis by attaching the uprights to the cross-piece assembly.

The assembled trellis will be very light, and you'll be able to slip the uprights down over the rebar. A second pair of hands helps :)

Cut the trellis netting to size and secure it to the cross piece and uprights with some twine or the nylon zip ties. One net will make two or three 5' trellises.

Snap peas are planted on the left and the climbing tomato will be on the right.