Gardens on a String: The How and Why of Trellising

I noticed that lately a lot of people have shown an interest in a specific Pinterest Pin on the Great Gardening Ideas! board about string trellising. So, I decided to run with that today because if your summer garden is anything like mine it’s kinda going crazy and could use some trellising about now!

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Check out the original pin and source on the Great Gardening Ideas! board. I have trellised up cukes in this same way many times and they do great in my garden because keeping good air flow is very important in my humid climate. 

I think trellising, while there are definitely techniques, is something that is best addressed on a specific need basis. Build the trellis that the situation (or your imagination) calls for and your life will be easy, and when I say build, today I mean tie with string. Pretty much no nails needed!

First, 5 reasons why to trellis:

To keep your plants up off the ground so they get proper air flow to help avoid catching fungus

To give support to plants with vining habits

To give structural support to keep stalks and stems from breaking in strong winds or from their own (or their fruit’s) weight 

To give you more space in your garden and keep vining plants from overtaking other garden plants

To create a fun space such as a pea or bean teepee or create a privacy wall

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My favorite trellising string is the simple classic green garden twine. It’s fairly cheap, easy to find at garden centers and hardware stores, holds up to weather, blends into the garden nicely, and has a vintage look. I use it for everything from tying up tomatoes to stringing vine climbing zig zags on teepees to stringing up cukes on the fence. You name it, this twine pretty much does the trick!

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Here is a detail of a trellis we built to create a space for blackberries to grow in spring and black eyed peas to grow in summer and fall. See how we used a combo of wire zig zagged through eye hooks for the primary support and twine to give areas for extra climbing vine grab ons. On this one I used hemp twine because it was lying around the shed, but generally I don’t recommend that because it decomposes so quickly.

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Here is the whole trellis. We actually liked it so much we doubled it’s length this year. This one took a little more structural building because it’s a permanent trellis and posts were involved rather than using bamboo for temporary trellises. Now pink jasmine has overrun it creating a nice privacy wall. It was quite east to build.

 All you need is: 3 posts, a bag of Quickcrete cement, a pack of eye hooks, all purpose thin wire, and the twine. Dig your holes, pour in the cement, set the posts, then once they are totally set you can put in the eye hooks on the posts and string up the wire. It’s a simple afternoon project. If you want the more detailed instructions email me or comment below and let me know!

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This is our most impressive trellis. For this one we wanted to create privacy from this backyard neighbor’s house right on the property line. We used the garden twine to string up a net that the dutchman’s pipe vine could climb up. Dutchman’s pipe is a vigorous grower, as you can tell, and the twine is holding strong for over 2 years! We threw the ball of twine over a branch and then rigged up the net. I was a little worried about having a net that could cause trouble for birds, but no problem at all! The plants solved that! Dutchman’s pipe vine is a host for swallowtail butterflies, but surprisingly we haven’t had a ton of caterpillars eat up the vine yet.

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This one isn’t an official trellis, but I think it’s cool and it uses string so I thought I’d share it. Hanging from that tree is a staghorn fern. These are cold sensitive, but also weigh a ton and are a pain to move and cover in winter. So to solve the predicament, we strung it up with a pulley system. We tied the rope around the plant securely, this one was too heavy for the garden twine, and then ran the rope through a pulley and tied the rope to the fence. Now it is easy to lower and no tree or ladder climbing required beyond setting up the pulley originally.

I think this could be a fun way to teach simple machines in a school garden with smaller and lower hanging basket type plants that children could raise and lower to water and care for with the pulley system. Experiential education at it’s gardening best!

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This totally pathetic  cherry tomato desperately clinging to life in the hot Florida summer heat is strung up on a trellis of bamboo and garden twine. I know the pic is kinda small but it’s about 7 feet tall and I  couldn’t get the whole thing in the shot!

Here we have a cherry tomato plant that we have pruned to have a vertical growing habit. We pick of the suckers (or side shoots) as best we can when the plant is in it’s main growing stage and then train it in a vertical habit rather than allowing bushing. This saves space and some believe you get more fruit because the plant isn’t putting as much energy into growing leaves and stems.

But you don’t have to take my word for it, there is a lesson on this in my book where you can experiment for yourself and see which way produces more fruit in your garden! Then share your finding with us on social media #wingswormsandwonder.

As far as the trellis, we used a bamboo stake as the main support and then used garden twine to tie up the plant vertically. This is a VERY easy way to trellis tomatoes or any other vining veggies with light weight fruit like beans, cucumbers, or peas.

 

You can see here how the specific situation can really dictate how you build a string trellis. Pretty much any trellising needs you have can be met in some way with string as the base support. Let the specific need and your creative problem solving skills lead the way and you will keep your garden tamed and tied up!

photo (4)My herb garden definitely needs a little string session! Those unruly herbs all climbing all over each other!

How is your garden on a string, shoe or twine?

What are your creative trellising solutions?

Let me know by hitting comment below!

Share pics on social media #wingswormsandwonder #childrensgardening

Seeds to Sprout:

Find the tomato pruning habit lesson above in the section of the book Wings, Worms, and Wonder

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Check out this post on building a spider web trellis from the blog jdaniel4’smom.

Click the pick for the link! You can also find it on the Wings, Worms, and Wonder Pinterest board Great Gardening Ideas!

 

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Here’s another fun string trellis idea that also incorporates square foot gardening from Boy’s Life.

Click the pick for the link! You can also find it on the Wings, Worms, and Wonder Pinterest board Great Gardening Ideas!

Also, in case you missed it, check out this post from last spring that has more on grid gardening and  a free download for a square foot/grid gardening planting plan!! Yay free stuff!!

 

 

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