It seems like spring will never come to the winter weary gardeners of Zone 6 but it will eventually. To get in the gardening spirit and to produce a tool or tools that will be invaluable for many gardening seasons, why not build a trellis or two? It is a simple Sunday afternoon project which will help maximize garden space usage while keeping the veggies out of the mud and up in the air.
This is what you will need:
Four 1 x 4” boards, 8’ in length
Eighteen 1 1/4” wood screws
An electric drill with a screw driver bit appropriate for the screws being used
A small box of 3/4” poultry staples
A hand or skill saw
A roll of poultry wire or of vinyl coated wire mesh fencing either 24 or 46” wide
Outdoor paint, with brush or roller
Cut one of the 8’ boards into two 4’ lengths. Without fastening them together, lay out two of the 8’ boards and the two 4’ pieces so that they form a 4 x 8’ rectangle, check that each corner is square.
Again without fastening anything lay the remaining 8’ board diagonally across the rectangle, using as much of the board as possible. Mark the corners of the board that project beyond the rectangle and cut these so the angled cut is flush with the outside of the rectangle.
Give every surface of each board a coat of paint, allow these to dry thoroughly.
Assemble the boards just as they were laid out, a squared off rectangle with a diagonal cross brace. Use a squeeze of wood glue and three wood screws for each joint. Apply another coat of paint and then put the project aside until the paint has dried and the glue has set.
Next, cut two lengths just an inch or two under 8’ long from the 2’ wide roll of fencing or one similar length from the 4’ wide roll, whichever is available.
Attach these to the 4’ x 8’ frame using the poultry staples, spaced every 4 - 6 inches or so.
Using the trellis:
The trellis is now ready to support the crop. Obtain two 4’ long stakes; these can be old pipes, sapling poles or two by twos. Orient the trellis properly for the type of plant planted, 4’ tall for short vines like peas, 8’ tall for full vining types like beans and cucumbers. Drive the stakes 18” into the soil behind the trellis uprights.
Secure the trellis to the stakes with strong cord or wire. If wire, remember to turn the sharp ends towards the trellis, where they cannot injure people or pets.
Use and re-use:
Note the benefits of this particular garden accessory. It can be oriented for tall or short plants, moved as required, and used for any and all climbing vegetables; even gourds will thrive on this device.
If the trellis is placed under cover after the growing season it will last for many, many years, earning back the cost of materials several times over while keeping that valued crop high, dry, and up in the sunlight and fresh air.
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