Making a Trellis for Your Square Foot Garden
A major benefit of square foot gardening is how well the plants grow. Plants like tomatoes and peas that grow on vines need good support, making a trellis essential.
- Copper or plastic tubing, or bamboo or esparto grass
- Elbow joints or cords for joints
- Cords or netting
Step 1 - Decide on the Size
It will be best if your trellis is designed to fit along one side of your square foot garden. A four foot square garden will need a four foot wide trellis. The trellis should be fitted to a side of the garden box that is not against a wall or fence - you need to be able to get to both sides to harvest your crop properly. When you fit the trellis you should also remember to plant the vines in the squares next to it.
Step 2 - Decide on Materials
You should design your trellis to be as high as possible, or as high as you can reach without using steps. A trellis that is too short can be difficult to extend. Popular materials are copper or plastic tubing, bamboo or esparto grass (sparto grass can grow to 25 feet or more in height), or lengths of timber. The trellis filler can be created simply by using lengths of cord tied from the top to the bottom, chicken wire or using coated plastic netting.
Step 3 - Fitting to the Garden Box
The trellis can be fitted to the garden box by use of brackets. You might decide that safer and better support would be obtained by setting the trellis into the ground next to the trellis. Since you are hoping for a bumper crop, why not use both methods? Drive the trellis uprights into the ground next to the garden box and fit brackets to hold the trellis uprights against the box.
Step 4 - Building the Trellis
The square foot garden box trellis will consist of two uprights as wide apart as the garden box is wide (ie. a 4 square foot box has a 4 foot trellis) and at least one cross piece to bridge the top of the trellis. This can be joined by elbow joints in the case of tubing or tied for most other materials. If you are using chicken wire or some other form of netting, this can be tied around the trellis frame.
Step 5 - Concrete Wire
There has been some debate about avoiding concrete wire in trellises for square foot gardens. Apart from the weight of the wire there seems to be no reasons not to use it. The wire is produced in a nice regular pattern, usually in six inch squares-which is ideal for most vine plants, and is not treated with any hazardous chemicals
Although the trellis for your square foot garden might not be the most elegant, it will be useful in supporting your bumper crops.