Friday, June 4, 2010

How To: Garden Twig Trellis

Remember those peas? Did you peek underneath them to see what they were growing up? That's right, I made a trellis for them out of twigs that we found in the park and in our yard! This is all you need: sticks,

scissors, and twine!

The first step is to find several sturdy, larger sticks to be your vertical supports. My bed is 8 feet long and has 4 vertical sticks breaking it into 3 sections. You need one on each end and then a few in the middle. Those plants in the bed are lettuce--the peas were just seeds when I built this.
Once you pick those larger sticks out, then you want some medium sticks--not as big as the vertical supports, but also not bendy. I made them in 3 levels, slightly overlapping at each vertical support.

Here is a close-up of how I attached the sticks to one another. Just cut off a piece of twine about a foot long, then wrap it around one of the sticks a couple of times. Now criss-cross the strings over each other, and wrap it around the other sticks. Repeat that, then tie a square knot and cut off the extra. If you are really serious about your trellis lasting, you can use liquid nails and screws, because the twine will disintegrate after a few years in the weather.

Once you get your main three levels of horizontal supports, you get to start with you first diagonals. Now pull out sticks that are pretty long, and very flexible. I used green twigs from a recently-pruned crape myrtle, but I have also read about using willow.

Space the diagonals evenly, and weave them in and out of the horizontal supports. Alternate how they are woven as you go across (the first one front-back-front, the second one back-front-back). Then tie the diagonals to the horizontal and vertical supports as you go.

The last step is the second set of diagonals. If you did your first diagonals left-to-right, then this set should go right-to-left to form Xs and diamond shapes.

Again, weave them in and out alternating directions, and tie them to every other stick everywhere they naturally touch. They should be tight at this point, and you shouldn't need the twine to make them stay for a minute--so you can put them in temporarily, then step back to make sure you like the placement before you tie them on.

Here are a couple pictures of the finished product before the peas got their start:

I'm not gonna lie, my fingers hurt pretty badly by the time I was done because I tied so many knots!

And here are some pictures of the trellis covered in delicious peas! (Also the raised beds got a fresh coat of barn and fence paint in the meantime.) I wish I had take a few "during" shots so that you could see the vines as they climb.

The plants in front of the peas are (right to left) peppers, eggplant, and zucchini.

You can really see in this one how the little tendrils grip the trellis to pull the plant up.

You could make a trellis like this for any climbing plant, like clematis, roses, honeysuckles, or trumpet creeper. Does anyone else have a trellis they love? I would love to see pictures!


Unknown said...

And the peas were delicious. I'm sure part of that was the beautiful trellis they got to grow on :)

Julie said...

So pretty and organic looking. I love reusing what I find or already have to make something beautiful...and the peas look very happy:) Just found your blog and will definitely be following!