DIY: Cucumber Trellis

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Gardening is the ultimate win-win for a stressed homeowner. Puttering in the garden is a relaxing contrast with a busy day at the office. In addition, even the tiniest garden provides enough tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers to make a summer salad. By using a trellis, your compact garden provides space for vining vegetables and fruits such as peas and cucumbers. With careful planning, a trellis also provides much needed shade on the sunny side of the house. This is a one weekend project.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 pressure-treated 2-by-4-inch, 8-foot boards
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Deck screws, 3/4-inch
  • Deck screws, 2 1/2-inch
  • 6 "L" brackets
  • 1 roll of chicken wire, 36 inches wide
  • Wire cutter
  • Heavy-duty staple gun
  • Shovel
  • Saw a 2-by-4 board into two pieces measuring 37 and 34 inches.

  • Lay two 8-foot 2-by-4s on a flat, solid surface, such as a driveway. Lay them on edge, 34 inches apart and parallel to each other. Place the 37-inch board across the top, butting it against the tops of the long 2-by-4s. Use 2 1/2-inch long deck screws to attach the 37-inch board to the top of each, bridging the gap to make a "U" shape. On the inside of each corner, use 3/4-inch deck screws to attach an "L" bracket for stability.

  • Insert the 34-inch board between the 2-by-4 boards, approximately 2 feet from the open end of the "U." Screw through the 2-by-4s into the ends of the shorter board. Attach an "L" bracket on the inside of each corner.

  • Unroll a roll of 36-inch chicken wire and align to the sides of the trellis. Fold the bottom edge over, sharp side in, and staple it to the bottom of the trellis. As you unroll the chicken wire, staple it to the sides of the trellis. At the top, cut the wire 2 inches taller than the trellis. Fold it over, sharp side in, and staple across the top board.

  • Dig two holes for the trellis, 32 inches apart, 6 inches in diameter and 20 inches deep. Insert the bottom of the trellis. Using a level, make sure it is vertical before adding soil and tamping firmly around the boards.

  • Plant cucumbers 2 inches in front of the trellis. As the plants sprout, guide and trim them so they grow up the trellis.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set the trellis on the north side of the garden so it does not shade the vegetables.
  • For a permanent installation, set the posts of the trellis in concrete.
  • Dig the garden before installing the trellis.
  • Adjust the width of the trellis according to the width of the chicken wire. Chicken wire is available in rolls up to 6 feet wide.
  • Allow enough room to walk behind the trellis to harvest the cucumbers.
  • Plant peas in the fall and early spring for a cool weather crop. Remove the vines after the peas are harvested and plant cucumbers.
  • Use safety equipment such as safety glasses and gloves.
  • The cut ends of the chicken wire are sharp. Use caution and turn ends in toward the boards to avoid puncture wounds.

References

  • "Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out"; Derek Fell; 2011
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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